SECURITY PLAN. Officials of the Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines sign on Friday (April 1, 2022) a joint security plan for safe and peaceful elections in Negros Oriental on May 9. In the photo are (L-R) Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Army Infantry Brigade, Msgr. Julius Heruela, convenor of the Diocese of Dumaguete, Comelec-Negros Oriental provincial election officer-designate lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, and PNP provincial director Col. Germano Mallari. (Photo by Judy Flores Partlow)

DUMAGUETE CITY – A joint security plan of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Negros Oriental is now in effect to ensure safe, clean, honest, peaceful and orderly elections on May 9.
 
The joint security plan was officially signed on Friday during the 6th meeting of the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC) at the Marian Priests’ Center in this capital.
 
The signatories were Comelec-Negros Oriental provincial election supervisor-designate lawyer Lionel Marco Castillano, provincial police director Col. Germano Mallari, and Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
 
Msgr. Julius Perpetuo Heruela, convenor of the Diocesan Electoral Board of the Diocese of Dumaguete, witnessed the activity.
 
In that meeting, a security briefing presented the deployment plan of police and military troops to the different towns and cities for the upcoming elections.
 
A total of 1,829 uniformed personnel, comprising 1,630 from the PNP and 199 from the AFP,  particularly the Army and its civilian auxiliary, will be deployed for poll duty.
 
The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) is also currently awaiting additional augmentation of police personnel from the Police Regional Office-7 (PRO-7), Mallari said.
 
He said 60 augmentation personnel from the Regional Public Safety Battalion 7 (RPSB-7) arrived last week, and are now deployed in Bayawan City and the municipalities of Sta. Catalina and Pamplona.
 
On the other hand, the Philippine Army added one augmentation company from Negros Occidental for the 11th Infantry Battalion based in Siaton, Negros Oriental, Peña said.
 
Castillano expressed gratitude that this early, the security plan was already crafted after a series of meetings between the police and the Army.
 
“There will only be a little refinement in the event of troop augmentation from PRO-7,” he said, reassuring that the execution of this plan will provide a peaceful and safe election in Negros Oriental.
 
Castillano also appealed to the political candidates to give the people the freedom to vote.
 
“Our job here is to assure the people that their right to vote is protected and counted accurately so that the will of the people (and) the will of God will prevail,” he added. (PNA)