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PIA Press Release

Comelec assures ARMM voters a clean election

By Mai Gevera

Davao City (10 February) -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ARMM is all set for the conduct of 2010 May Elections given that automation is no longer new to the voters in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) after a local election was staged in the area last 2008.

Comelec Maguindanao election officer Maceda Lidasan Abu gave another briefing to some government and private sectors as initiated by the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (Citizens CARE) yesterday (February 9) at the Grand Regal Hotel, this city.

She said voters could expect a clean election in ARMM, despite the recent election-related Ampatuan Massacre late last year, because Comelec is an independent body free from any pressure and influence of any political individual in the region.

The official also clarified that the Philippine National Police as well as the Armed Forces of the Philippines are under the jurisdiction of the Comelec with its role of ensuring security to the voters.

"The deployment of police and army troops would depend on the security situation of an area. But so far, we don't see any need to increase deployment," she said.

On the other hand, The PNP announced its serious operation in dismantling partisan armed group (PAGs) in the region.

ARMM regional operations and plans division officer in charge P/Supt Siegredo Ramos said that after identifying 25 PAGs in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the PNP is ordered to closely monitor these groups and have them dismantled.

"If they remain grouped before the election this May, we will be forced to conduct an operation against them and legal actions may be filed too," said Ramos.

Civilians were assured of a smooth and clean election having these private armed groups dissolved. (PIA XI) [top]

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