More police personnel deployed to Region 12

Chief Supt. Felizardo Serapio, Region 12 police director, said they deployed the policemen to at least 38 barangays in the region that were listed as "areas of immediate concern" and 100 others considered as "areas of concern" in today's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

He said they came up with the list following an assessment they conducted over the weekend.

"We're expecting a generally peaceful conduct of the elections but we're not taking any chances so we decided to deploy more uniformed personnel in some critical areas to secure our voters," he told reporters.    

Serapio said they have also assigned several policemen to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to help secure the delivery and extraction of election materials in the remote areas.

Earlier this month, the PNP listed the hotspots in the towns of Banisilan, Tulunan, Pikit and Carmen in Cotabato; Tampakan and T'boli in South Cotabato; Malungon and Alabel in Sarangani; and, Palimbang in Sultan Kudarat.

Senior Supt. Teng Tocao, Sultan Kudarat police director, said he sent additional policemen from the provincial police office along with 40 members of the police regional mobile group to augment several barangays in Palimbang town.

He said additional policemen will join with the army troopers in the area in securing the area to help ease the tension caused by heated political rivalry.

Aside from Palimbang, Tocao said he also sent additional policemen to the towns of Lebak, Kalamansig and Senator Ninoy Aquino.

But Tocao pointed out that as of early Monday morning, they had yet to record any violent incident related to today's elections.

"We're doing our best to sustain this situation until the last vote will be cast and counted," he added.    

Before the May 14 elections, the Comelec identified at least 18 municipalities in the region as areas of immediate concern or hotspots.

The list includes the municipalities of Aleosan, Banisilan, Kabacan, Midsayap, Pigcawayan, Pikit, Antipas, Arakan, Magpet, Makilala, Matalam, Mlang, Pres. Roxas, Tulunan in North Cotabato; Columbio in Sultan Kudarat; Pula Bato, Danlag, Tablu and Albangan villages in Tampakan South Cotabato; Sapu Masla, Malapatan and Malabod, Malungon in Sarangani. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)