Security forces, poll watchdogs on alert in BARMM

Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao government center (File photo)

MANILA – The Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MILG) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) on Tuesday said election watchdogs and security forces are prepared to ensure the upcoming May 9 national and local elections will be safe and peaceful.

During the “Laging Handa” public briefing, MILG Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said BARMM’s Regional Commission on Elections, in coordination with the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, will deploy personnel in hotspots such as Malabang municipality in Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao province.

“So far, iyong mga citizens’ movement na watchdog ng Comelec (Commission on Elections) ay active din ho, including the general populace. So, inaasahan ho natin na overall, tama naman po iyong paghahanda and then iyong mga kababayan natin ay handa na para doon sa elections natin sa May 9 (So far, the citizens’ movement watchdog of the Comelec is active, including the general public. So we expect that overall, we have the right preparations and our constituents are also ready for the May 9 elections),” Sinarimbo said.

The police and BARMM government have created a task force to focus security on 16 towns and two cities identified as “red code” or “areas of immediate concern”.

“We are in touch with the inspection of the deployed groups para ho ma-i-report kaagad iyong mga incidents para ho hindi ito lumala (so that incidents can be immediately reported and will not get worse),” he added.

About 102 communities across BARMM have been initially identified as “areas of concern” (yellow code).

“Red code” areas in Basilan province include Al Barka, Sumisip, Ungkaya Pukan, and Lamitan City while Lanao del Sur has Malabang, Butig, Tubaran, and Marawi City.

The 10 “red code” areas in Maguindanao are the towns of Rajah Buayan, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Hofer, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

The provinces of Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have no “red code” areas, but there are communities listed as possible areas of concern. (PNA)

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