READY TO SERVE. More than 9,000 police and soldiers have been deployed across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao starting Wednesday (May 4, 2022)  to ensure peace during the May 9 elections. The security forces are deployed in the BARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur Sulu, Basilan, and Tawi-Tawi (Photo courtesy of PRO-BARMM)

PARANG, Maguindanao – More than 9,000 police and military personnel have been deployed to various provinces in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) to help ensure peace during the May 9 elections.

Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, BARMM police director, said Thursday at least 6,347 police and 2,846 military personnel are assigned to the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi to secure the polling areas ahead of election day.  

Cabalona said police personnel alone will secure1,195 polling centers, five provincial treasurer’s offices, 119 city and municipal treasurer’s offices where election paraphernalia are stored, 120 Commission on Elections (Comelec) field offices, and 86 canvassing areas.

Cabalona said the deployment includes 706 Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) personnel for Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

“Another 405-strong Quick Reactionary Force (QRF) personnel will be on standby and ready to be deployed anytime in case of emergency,” he added.  

Additional police from regional mobile force battalion (RMFB) will augment personnel in Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Cotabato City while personnel from the RMFB–BASULTA will be deployed in the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Cabalona said there are also 2,516 police personnel trained as electoral board of inspectors as requested by the Comelec and are ready to serve as replacements in case some teachers back out on the day of the election.

“We need to ensure that the registered voters are free to vote for their candidates that during the process, they feel safe, secure, and protected,” Cabalona said.

Lawyer Ray F. Sumalipao, the Comelec-BARMM director, said the police have two vital roles during the elections—to serve as security personnel and to act as special members of the electoral board if the need arises. (PNA)