The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Mindanao Command spokesperson on Sunday said that the present election period in the region is more peaceful than in previous elections, which he attributed to martial law.
“Maraming lugar dito sa area ng Wesmincom na kumpara noong mga nakaraan eleksyon, partikular yung lokal, ay talagang napakatahimik,” spokesperson Colonel Gerry Besana said in his interview on Super Radyo dzBB.
“So we are hoping that this is an effect nung prevailing na martial law,” Besana added.
In May 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Mindanao under martial law after the attack of ISIS-inspired Maute group on Marawi City.
Midanao martial law has been extended thrice and is expected to end on December 31 this year.
According to Besana, many areas in Mindanao, such as the Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao del Sur are relatively peaceful.
But, Besana said Wesmincom is aware that the relative peace in the region can also be a sign of a looming chaos.
"Yung calm before the storm, tinututukan din namin yan,“ he said.
Despite the peaceful situation in the area, Besana said, they are receiving reports of vote buying in the region.
“May mga nahuli na rin tayo na nakasuhan na ngayon,” he said.
Also, he said some 30, 000 government troops composed of personnel from the AFP and the Philippine National Police have been tasked to monitor the conduct of the midterm elections in Western Mindanao.
While the AFP is currently on election mode due to the May 13 polls, Besana said they are still on alert against rebel groups such as Abu Sayyaf, Daulah Islamiyah, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
"We are confident na ang Wesmincom will be able to address any disruptions insurgents might undertake on election day this Monday hanggang sa maiproklama yung mga pinili ng ating mga kababayan,” Besana said. —Joviland Rita/LBG, GMA News