Sighting of armed men in GenSan’s boundaries alarms police

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 9 May) – Police personnel here are closely watching the city’s boundary areas due to previous sightings of armed elements that might emerge and disrupt the conduct of the local and national midterm elections on Monday.

Lt. Renato Dungca Jr., spokesperson of the city police office, said Thursday they have assigned special teams to monitor and secure several barangays situated at the boundaries of the city with the neighboring Sarangani and South Cotabato provinces.

He said these will be augmented by personnel from the Army-led Joint Task Force GenSan and the 1002nd Infantry Brigade.

Dungca specifically cited Barangay San Jose, the closest village to Tboli town in South Cotabato, that had reported movements of New People’s Army rebels in the past years.

They are also monitoring barangays close to Maasim, Alabel and Malungon towns in Sarangani, he said.

“We consider these as white areas due to records of the presence of armed individuals,” he said in a media briefing.

But he clarified that these areas are not considered as election hotspots and they have not declared any barangay as such in the city.

For Monday’s elections, Dungca said they will deploy a total of 721 police personnel in strategic parts of the city.

He said their deployment in polling centers will start with the delivery of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) on Friday.

Security escorts were assigned for the scheduled transfer starting 4 a.m. of the VCMs from the hub of courier F2 Logistics to the 55 polling centers and 341 precincts, he said.

“Starting from the delivery of the machines, our security deployment will be 24/7 since these will remain in the precincts until election day,” he said.

Dungca said teams will also be deployed in public convergence areas and vital government facilities.

He added that they have personnel on standby who were trained to function as electoral board members in case some of the teachers assigned in remote areas will back out from poll duty. (MindaNews)