BACOLOD CITY – A total of 150 soldiers were dispatched to Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental over the weekend, following the recent attacks on town officials.
Brig. Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army, led the send-off ceremony of the military troops at the Poblacion market in the town Saturday.
Also present during the ceremony were Lt. Col. Egberto Dacosco, commander of 62nd Infantry Battalion, Police Capt. Junji Liba, town police chief, and town’s Commission on Elections assistant officer Rosana Lamec.
The deployment of troops was accompanied by three armored vehicles, two military 6×6 trucks, and 10 light trucks.
The troops were deployed after reelectionist Councilor Jose Antonio Garcia and his uncle, Jose Marcelino Garcia, brother of Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo, were killed in an ambush after they came from a campaign sortie in Barangay Inolingan on April 25.
On March 31, Councilor Jolomar Hilario, who was also seeking for reelection, was gunned down by suspected New People’s Army at his residence in the barangay.
With the deployment of troops, Arevalo said they are trying to show to everyone that the force should be with the government forces and not with the private armed groups or the NPA.
We will be able to contain the town with the number of the security forces, he added. He believed that more troops are necessary in the town.
Arevalo said they will be working with the police to ensure peace and order in the town.
Recently, the Provincial Joint Security Control Center composed of the Comelec, Philippine Army, and Philippine National Police recommended to place the town under Comelec control due to the election-related violence.
However, they will have to wait for the approval of the Comelec en banc. (Glazyl Masculino)