Martial law played key role in securing Mindanao polls: AFP

MANILA -- Martial Law in Mindanao proved a vital factor in ensuring the relatively peaceful conduct of Monday's mid-term elections in the island.

"In Mindanao where there are a number of identified election areas of concern, Martial Law proved to be a serious deterrent to lawless groups who may intend to disturb free polling," said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, on Tuesday when asked by reporters on what other factors the military can attribute the relative non-violent elections.

Aside from this, Arevalo attributed the success and relative peacefulness of the elections to the peoples’ cooperation with the security measures laid by the AFP and the Philippine National Police.

"And likewise to the citizens’ active involvement in reporting unusual developments or movements in their localities," the AFP spokesperson said.

In a 235-28-1 vote, the Congress, in a joint session on December 12, 2018, approved the extension of martial law in Mindanao until December 31, 2019.

The AFP recommended another year-long extension of martial law in Mindanao island to totally neutralize terror groups still operating in Mindanao. Martial law in Mindanao was declared on May 23, 2017 following attacks launched by the Maute Group in Marawi City.

The House of Representatives, in a special joint session in July 2017, granted the extension of martial law until December 31, 2017 at the President's request.

The Senate and House of Representatives, convening in a joint session early December, granted the Chief Executive's request for the extension of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus for a period of one year from January 1 to December 31, 2018.

Also, the AFP spokesperson vigilance on the part of security forces ensured that there will be sufficient forces groups planning to disrupt the polls.

"Vigilance and anticipation enabled us to immediately act and counteract efforts, anticipated or unexpected, that may or tend to disrupt our planned peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections," he added.

When asked on why there were no reported New People's Army (NPA) attacks on the day of the elections, Arevalo attributes this to meticulous planning and preparation by government security forces and the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

"Meticulous planning and preparations seamlessly executed by government security forces and the Comelec and their commanding presence in the polling areas deterred possible NPA atrocities. In Mindanao where there are a number of identified election areas of concern, Martial Law prevented serious breach of law and order especially by various private armed and threat groups," he said. (PNA)


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