GENERAL INSPECTION. Troops under the 5th Infantry Battalion undergo a general inspection Monday (May 2, 2022) of all its mission equipment as part of the command's preparation for the May 9 national and local elections. This is to ensure the battalion can transition from security duties to direct action against lawless elements out to disrupt the elections. (5IB photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – Troopers of the 5th Infantry Battalion (IB) on Monday underwent a general inspection of all mission-essential equipment as part of the unit’s preparation for the May 9 national and local elections.

The 5IB headquartered at Kampo Agila in Barangay Ragayan, Poona Bayabao, Lanao del Sur, is one of the operations units of the 1st Infantry Division’s 103rd Infantry Brigade.

During the general inspection, Lt. Col. Romulus Rabara, 5IB commander, reminded the troops to be "fair, firm, and fearless in the performance of their duties."

Rabara also emphasized the non-partisan role of the Army during elections and the need to secure the voting centers at all costs.

“It is vital that our troops are well-informed of their duties and responsibilities during the election. The completeness of their equipment and their ability to move around our area of responsibility will make them more effective in their duties,” Rabara said in a statement Monday.

“If the situation requires, the battalion must be able to transition from security duties to direct action against lawless elements who seek to disrupt the elections,” Rabara added.

Despite ongoing combat operations, he said they made extensive preparations for the upcoming elections.

Some of the battalion’s personnel, together with Lt. Col. Lineco Basas, 5IB executive officer, have undergone a three-day seminar on election duties at the 1st Division Training School in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur.

“We want to be more effective in our duties this coming election that is why we made all the necessary preparations ahead of time to ensure an orderly and peaceful election,” Basas said.

In June last year, the 5IB was deployed in Lanao del Sur and was given the primary mission of destroying the New People’s Army and the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya-Maute Group in its jurisdiction.

Since then, it has launched combat operations against both threat groups in the 15 towns of Lanao del Sur that it has operational jurisdiction.

On April 28, the 5IB's operation in Barangay Ragayan, Butig, Lanao del Sur, resulted in the death of five DI-MG members and a soldier. (PNA)