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PIA Press Release

Army assures presence to deter intimidation of voters

Tagbilaran City (7 May) -- Rising to the occasion to help the Commission on Elections conduct peaceful, honest, credible and free elections, 802nd Brigade Commanding General Alan Luga promised full military support.

With Bohol, Cebu, Samar and Leyte under his command, the Camp Rajah Sikatuna based BGen. Luga said the 2nd Special Forces Batallion of about 400 officers and men are now scattered all over Bohol to make sure that people can go out and vote without fear and intimidation from any party or individual.

"Your army forces will ensure that all voters are not terrorized by anybody," BGen. Luga said.

For every area, there is a Special Forces team, he assured while stressing that any act of voter intimidation would be responded immediately by his men.

The army Special Forces are experts in the military's civil operations althoough these are also trained combatants when the occasion calls for.

Pinpointed as one of the major factors for Bohol successes in insurgency operations, the SF are the ones organizing communities and should not be feeling aliens to the task at hand, army sources reveal.

Even then, Bgen Luga requested "to immediately report or forward any information of intimidation to the police or military" so they could respond and do something.

"We need this information from voters so we could help the authorities conduct a successful May 10 elections," he urged.

Now stripped of their usual anti-insurgency role after Bohol has been declared insurgency free since February, the Bohol army chief said they would even be complementing a larger and augmented police force.

Asked about the two reported cases of PTCs, Luga downplayed the attempts calling them false alarms.

Also relieved of the task of responding to election related insurgency activities like exaction of permit to campaign, Gen. Luga said the absence of a rebel armed force makes them unable to forcefully collect. (PIA-Bohol) [top]

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