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Comelec, AFP, PNP ready for barangay polls in Maguindanao

Authorities are all set to watch over the conduct of barangay polls in Maguindanao on Monday, to ensure peaceful and orderly elections in the province, amid fears the exercise there could turn violent.

Chino Gaston reported on "News TV Live" that Comelec Commissioner Al Parreño had met with officials of Maguindanao Comelec, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police to finalize preparations for the polls.

Millions of Filipino voters are expected to troop to polling precincts all over the country to vote on Monday.

Election paraphernalia for Maguindanao have been delivered and will be distributed to municipalities before dawn Monday, Gaston said.

Meanwhile, the report said more police personnel from Luzon are expected to arrive in ARMM provinces, including Maguindanao, to serve as special board of election tellers (BETs) as some teachers in the region declined to perform their poll duties, citing possible violent incidents due to intense political rivalry.

Moreover, the report said that in case of a failure of elections, a Comelec a task force, which includes military and police personnel (excluding incumbent officials), will temporarily serve as barangay officials until an orderly election is conducted.

For now, according to the report, officials said the situation in the province remains peaceful, and they are hoping this will remain so until Monday.

On November 2009, 57 people were killed by men led by a rival candidate as the vicitms were accompanying a team of a gubernatorial bet to file his certificate of candidacy in Maguindanao.

The bloody incident, later known as the "Maguindanao Massacre," was condemned worldwide as the most violent single-day election violence, which observers considered as a symptom of the failure of democracy in the country and a glaring indicator of the sorry state of human rights in this part of the world.  — Amanda Fernandez /LBG, GMA News