Cops seize 85 guns, 12 grenades at checkpoints before BOL plebiscite
MANILA, Philippines — Police have confiscated 85 firearms and 12 grenades since setting up election checkpoints a week prior to the conduct of the plebiscite for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on Monday.
Police also seized 589 live bullets and three bladed weapons from January 13 until 6 a.m. of January 21. The Philippine National Police (PNP) has established 120,216 checkpoints and carried out 68 police operations across the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and some parts of Central, Western, and Northern Mindanao for the BOL plebiscite.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said 85 persons were arrested from checkpoints and police operations in the regions.
Albayalde also said a total of 6,698 police officers were deployed to secure the January 21 plebiscite while another 3,209 would be deployed to secure the February 6 plebiscite in six municipalities of Lanao del Norte and 39 villages of North Cotabato.
As of this writing, the PNP leadership said Monday’s BOL plebiscite was “peaceful” even after the confiscation of deadly weapons and reported cases of untoward incidents days before the referendum.
ARMM police director Chief Supt. Graciano Mijares said in a text message: “[The plebiscite was] very peaceful.”
PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Benigno Durana Jr. also said: “There are some a couple of incidents but generally it was peaceful. Everything went smoothly, and we expect that we will maintain the same level of safety and security until the end of the plebiscite and even beyond that.”
Aside from police forces, 10,441 personnel from the Armed Forces of the Philippines were also deployed for the BOL plebiscite. /kga
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