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Mindanao LGUs, law enforcement commit to eradicate private armed groups as Eleksyon 2022 nears

Local government units and military forces have committed to eradicate the presence of private armed groups (PAGs) in Bangsamoro, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Soccsksargen in light of the coming 2022 elections.

In a press conference of the National Task Force for the Disbandment of Private Armed Group, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reiterated the importance of the LGUs in addressing the issue of violence.

“Our police and our military commanders, units will collaborate with our local government units and we will provide all necessary information and data so that we can do this job,” he said.

Several local government units and military officials signed a pledge of commitment for the eradication of the PAGs in their respective areas.

According to Año, PAGs usually emerge during election periods to produce funds for campaigns and threaten political rivals.

The military is monitoring around 126 potential PAGs and addressing seven PAGs in West Mindanao.

Año said they will identify election hotspots where there is a high risk of violence during polls. More security forces in these areas will be deployed to prevent PAGs from committing violence.

Aside from West Mindanao, Año said they are also monitoring potential emergence of PAGs in Northern Luzon, Eastern Visayas, and Western Visayas. — BM, GMA News