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PIA Press Release

AFP has limited role in 2007 elections

by VG Villanueva

Kalibo, Aklan (2 April) -- The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a limited part in the May 2007 elections.

“The AFP will only be deployed in areas of critical concern. These are places where there are movements of armed groups, goons or lawless elements which might be used by politicians,” said Capt. Antonio Tumnog, Information Officer of 47th IB based at Camp Jizmundo, Libas, Banga, Aklan in a radio interview.

Capt. Tumnog stressed that their first and foremost part in this election period is to exercise their right to vote, just like any ordinary Filipino citizen.

The 47th IB is also closely coordinating with the Aklan Police Provincial Office here and the Commission on Elections for the conduct of honest, orderly and peaceful elections.

Capt. Tumnog said that as of this time, no Aklanon candidate has complained of having been contacted by the CPP-NPA for permit to campaign fees although he revealed that other provinces in Panay have reports already.

According to the 47th IB, it has received reports that candidates running for election in other Panay provinces are being charged of permit to campaign fees ranging from P10,000 – P70,000 for those running for Sangguniang Bayan/municipal councilor posts; P70,000 – 200,000 for mayor and P50,000 – P1,000,000 for those running for Governor/Congressman.

Capt. Tumnog bared that although there are no records yet of demand letters for permit to campaign fees in Aklan reaching local candidates, what is ongoing is the CPP-NPA’s charging/extortion of fees from Aklanon stallowners. He appealed to Aklanons not to succumb to this form of extortion.

Meanwhile, with the start of the campaign period for local elections, Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said this is a signal that Philippine democracy is in full bloom as all parties, persuasions and ideas come into play to crystallize a vibrant nation moving forward to a brighter future.

“We urge all candidates to keep the issues at a high level and focus on the interest of the people in a platform-led campaign – and employ the media as a means of enlightenment rather than insidious attack,” Sec. Bunye said.

Bunye emphasized the Philippines is on the verge of an economic takeoff that can be accelerated by a collective show of force for Philippine democracy in all its positive aspects, untainted by guns, goons and gold. (PIA) [top]

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