BINMALEY, Pangasinan, (PNA)–Some 50 soldiers from the 702nd Philippine Army battalion have arrived in Pangasinan as of Thursday as part of the quick response forces (QRF) formed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the October 28 barangay polls.
Provincial Election Supervisor Marino Salas said the newly arrived augmentation force at the Army camp in Binmaley were given orientation on their roles as peace-keepers during the barangay elections in Pangasinan.
Salas said some 50 more soldiers were expected to arrive to boost their number to 100 in the coming few days until the barangay elections
There are 24 barangays in 10 towns and cities of Pangasinan earlier tagged by the police as areas of concern during the barangay polls.
Among others, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) augmentation force will lend their support to some 2,000 policemen scattered all over Pangasinan to conduct checkpoints to prevent the movement of firearms which might be used to harass people during the polls.
Salas recalled that for the May 2013 local and national elections, a total of 250 army personnel were deployed in Pangasinan to maintain peace and order.
Salas said he requested for augmentation force from the AFP as the barangay election is more intense than the past national election since this is grassroots level politics and the protagonists are neighbors and even relatives.
Apart from helping the police in conducting checkpoints, the soldiers will also secure a large number of polling precincts and members of the board of election tellers who will be on duty during the election.
“We are short of policemen considering the big number of precincts that we have, so we asked the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Salas said.