Military sets up monitoring and action center on E-day
By Jean D. Abangan
TAGUM CITY (9 May) -- The various Military units in Davao del Norte and in Compostela Valley will be up and ready to monitor election-related incidents but will stay away from any election activities.
The 1001st Infantry Brigade and the Task Force Raptor, both of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army will be putting up respectively an election monitoring and action center which will start operating later this week.
The center which directly feeds information to its mother unit will be handled by civilian relations officers of the respective commands. Joining them are counterpart officers from battalions under the command.
Brigadier General Antonio Amodia, commanding general of TF Raptor wants the Task Force Raptor Election Monitoring and Action Center (REMAC) to begin operating two or three days before the May 14 elections.
Brigadier General Carlos Holganza, commanding officer of the 1001st IB has set the Brigade Election Monitoring and Action Center (BEMAC) to operate on Thursday.
To establish close coordination, Amodia has in mind to ask the provincial offices of the Commission on Election (COMELEC) and the Philippine National Police to send personnel to sit at the monitoring center together the assigned military officials.
Holganza said the military will be working close with the PNP and the COMELEC in running the monitoring and action center designed to “closely look into the election” and keep an eye on election-related violence.
TF Raptor covers the entire province of Davao del Norte; Calinan, Marilog and Paquibato of Davao City; the entire municipality of Laak of Compostela Valley province; western portions of the municipalities of Mawab, and Nabunturan of the same province.
The 1001st IB embraces areas outside of TF Raptor responsibility which is the entire Davao Oriental provinc and the municipalities of Veruela, Loreto and Sta. Josefa of Agusan del Sur.
Meanwhile, both commands will be doing their usual operation even as they dispatch personnel to augment the police forces.
Their augmentation forces are placed under the PNP which was officially deputized by the COMELEC.
Amodia said his men could be manning checkpoints while police personnel are doing patrol but they would in no way be getting near any polling places nor get involved in carrying out any election activities.
“Ayaw namin lumapit lapit dyan, maski magbitbit nyang (ballot) boxes,” he said in an interview referring to polling places.
Holganza wanted his men to stick with “minimizing activities and influence of the New People’s Army (NPA),” especially in far-flung areas.
“We are keeping distance from election activities, not even providing transportation (related to election),” he said in a separate telephone interview.
Both commands are keeping handy their reaction forces to immediate respond to request for reinforcements.
TF Raptor reaction force is being stationed within the Provincial Government Center in Mankilam, Tagum City while the 1001st IB has stationed forces in the municipalities of Mawab, Maco and Monkayo in Compostela Valley and in Mati City, Davao Oriental.
The military had been relegated to a minor election role after some generals were linked to the alleged manipulation of the 2004 presidential election.
As election-related violence rises in a run-up to May 14 election, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the military to help the police check such incidents.
In Region 11, the Philippine Army is set to field about 2,800 military personnel as augmentation forces. (PIA XI/JMDA) [top]