From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 28): Intensified ops vs. NPA in time for May 9 polls
The military justified its intense military operations in the countryside citing the need to keep rebel forces at bay in time for the May 9 national and local elections.
Captain Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division said the intense military operations in Barangay Astorga, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur, Colombio Sultan Kudarat, Paquibato and Marilog Districts in Davao City and the hinterlands of Compostela are all designed to drive away rebels and to stop them from conducting extortion activities.
“It’s the order of the 10th Infantry Division commanding general, to look for the communist rebels, especially now that we are nearing the holding of the polls,” he said.
Batchar said the rebels historically, take advantage of the election season by conducting either atrocities.
He said troops are vulnerable especially in the escorting of vote counting machines and during the setting up of security to communities prior to the holding of the elections.
“That is why we are intensifying our intensive operations against the rebels,” Batchar said.
He said soldiers may either hit the rebels hard or drive them away.
Batchar said that as long as the government forces will keep the rebels away from areas where people have to spend their time voting, it is a good measure enough that they have attained their mission of keeping the communities safe.
Major Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command said all equipment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be at the disposal of the Commission on Elections during the elections.
He said all equipment of the military must have the corresponding approval of the poll body when used during the Election Day.
“Aircraft and vehicles of the military are at the disposal of the Comelec,” Balagtey said.