Military welcomes Comelec control over Negros Oriental for October polls
DUMAGUETE CITY, Negros Oriental, Philippines — The Visayas Command (Viscom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Tuesday welcomed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to put Negros Oriental under its control in time for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections next month.
Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, Viscom commander, said they were ready to support the poll body and the Philippine National Police in ensuring the peaceful conduct of the twin elections in Negros Oriental.
In a statement released on Tuesday, he said Viscom has been preparing for the Oct. 30 polls since March this year and has enough personnel to ensure the peaceful and safe conduct of the elections in Negros Oriental.
“We will coordinate with the PNP to ensure that our contingency is synchronized with their deployment and security plan. Likewise, coordination will be made with the Comelec as to the guidelines on how they will go about placing the entire province under their control,” Arevalo said.
In a news conference on Monday, Comelec Chair George Garcia announced that the poll body placed the province under its control to end concerns that more violence and tension could erupt during the election period, since it happened too close to the murder of Gov. Roel Degamo and nine others, who were killed on March 4 by a group of heavily armed men who stormed the governor’s residential compound in Pamplona town.
The murders were blamed on expelled Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., the alleged mastermind who is now in hiding and facing an arrest warrant.
Since the killing, Arevalo said their security efforts in Negros Oriental have been relentless in ensuring that the province would stay peaceful, with checkpoints, mobility patrols in the urban areas and security patrols in the rural areas in place.
“The government remains in control of the province’s peace and order situation, which has become stable following the arrest of the primary suspects of the incident,” he said.
“Rest assured that our security efforts will never waver. Viscom will remain highly committed to our mandate on ensuring the safety and security of our people In Negros Oriental, as they exercise their rights this coming election,” Arevalo added. INQ