No. of :

No. of Shares:

Currently viewed by: Marcus Rosit

Gov’t security troops assure peaceful conduct of BSKE in NegOr

Msgr. Julius Heruela, lead convener of the Diocesan Electoral Board of the Diocese of Dumaguete, leads the blessing of the security augmentation force from the PNP and the PCG during the reception ceremony for BSKE 2023 security forces held on October 18, 2023 at Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental. (RAL/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

TANJAY CITY, Negros Oriental (PIA) -- Top officials of the security and law enforcement agencies in the country assured the NegOrenses that the conduct of the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) in the province will be orderly and peaceful.

This comes after an augmentation force composed of 181 personnel from the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (ID) from Samar, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Police Regional Office (PRO-7), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) arrived in the province to assist in securing the election process here.

Of the total, 131 are from the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, 29 from the PRO-7, and 39 from PCG Central Visayas.

The Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade hosted a reception ceremony for the augmentation personnel on October 18, 2023, at their headquarters in Camp Leon Kilat in this city.

Msgr. Julius Heruela, lead convener of the Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) of the Diocese of Dumaguete, who was at the event prayed over and blessed the additional security forces to boost their spiritual morale in fulfilling their duties.

PNP Negros Oriental Provincial Director, PCol. Ronan Claravall, who was also at the reception ceremony, said they are expecting more augmentation forces from their regional office in the coming days to increase the number of police personnel in the province for Election Day.

The deployment of additional security forces in the province is part of the government’s security measures following the placement of Negros Oriental under COMELEC control for the BSKE.

The 181-strong augmentation force from the Philippine Army 8th Infantry Division, PNP PRO-7, and PCG Central Visayas, take a photo opportunity with the commanding officers of the Philippine Army, PNP, PCG, and Negros Oriental provincial government during the reception ceremony held on October 18, 2023 at Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

The move also aims to prevent any form of violence related to the elections.

The killing of the late governor Roel Degamo in his residence in Pamplona town in March 2023 prompted the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to place Negros Oriental under its control.

“We are sending additional troops to guarantee the success of the elections in Negros Oriental,” said Lt.Gen. Benedict Arevalo, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Command.

Arevalo disclosed that in their recent Joint Security Command Center Conference (JSCC), the PNP and the PCG volunteered to send augmentation personnel to the province to assist in the security operations for the BSKE. 

“It was a welcome sign for the Visayas JSCC and the JS Control Center for the elections that we have this kind of augmentation. We just want to ensure that we maintain the peace and order,” Arevalo added.

Philippine Amry 302nd Infantry Brigade Commanding Officer BGen. Joey Escanillas (with mic) assures the NegOrenses of the readiness of the security sector in ensuring peace and order on Election Day. Escanillas was speaking in a press conference held at Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City on October 18, 2023 following the reception ceremony for the augmentation troops from AFP, PNP, and PCG. (RAL/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Deployment of security forces

Claravall said the augmentation forces will be distributed equally among the three districts of Negros Oriental.

Since the start of the election period, the PNP has been carrying out checkpoint operations, election monitoring simulation exercises, gun ban implementation, risk and threat assessment, and surveillance on private armed groups. 

The PNP Negros Oriental also tagged nine barangays as Election Watchlist Areas (EWAs) in the province under the orange and yellow categories.

Eight of them fall under the orange category due to the presence of Communist-Terrorist – Groups (CTGs) in their area. 

These are Barangays Nagbinlod, Milagrosa, Talalak, and Buenavista in Sta. Catalina town, Barangays Napacao and Tayak in Siaton town, Brgy. Trinidad in Guihulngan City, and Enrique Villanueva in Sibulan town.
Barangay Cabalayongan in Basay town fell under the yellow category due to a violent election-related incident in the previous election.

The commanding officer of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army based here, BGen. Joey Escanillas, said the list of EWAS in the province has been integrated into their deployment plan for security personnel.

“Since COMELEC control kami, lahat ay areas of concern but the watchlist is for planning purposes where we can focus our forces to be deployed. Hindi naman sinasabi na magulo doon but these are areas that are reportedly na ginagalawan ng CTGs (Since we are under COMELEC control, all places are considered areas of concern but the watchlist will be used as basis where we can focus our forces to be deployed. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is trouble in the area. but these are the places where CTGs were reportedly spotted),” Escanillas said.

CTG threats

He said there are two CTG threats in Negros Oriental, namely the Central Negros 1, which operates in the 1st district or the northern part of the province, while the second is the Southeast Front in the southern part of the province.

Escanillas added that although the Southeast Front has already been dismantled, manhunt operations are still ongoing for the remnants of the CTG front.

“We’ve been relentless in our operations months ago pa until now para ma drive away sila but for election, magdagdag kami ng tao doon compared sa town centers (We’ve been relentless in our operations months ago until now to drive them away, but for election purposes, we will assign more personnel in these areas compared to the town centers),” he explained.

The PCG will be patrolling coastal villages in the province, including the two island barangays, Apo Island in Dauin and Olympia Island in Bais City, for any possible threats on Election Day.

PCG Negros Oriental Commander LTJG. Jhanus Aniban said they will be lending bomb sniffing dogs to the PNP to assist in their bomb threat operations.

COMELEC Tanjay City Election Officer Atty. Felicismo Catacutan thanked the officials of the government’s security sector for their efforts in pursuing a peaceful BSKE in the province.

“We are now ready to conduct the elections. The peace and order of Negros Oriental plays an important role in this democratic exercise. If there is no peace and order come Election Day, then surely, we will have a failure of election,” Catacutan said. (RAL/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

Lt. Gen. Benedict Arevalo (right), commanding officer of the AFP Central Command, welcomes a soldier from the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army to Negros Oriental during the Reception Ceremony for the BSKE security force augmentation held on October 18, 2023 at Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City. (RAl/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

About the Author

Roi Anthoni Lomotan


Region 7

Roi Anthoni Lomotan is an Information Officer at Philippine Information Agency (PIA) - 7. He is currently based in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. His job at PIA includes covering general beat assignments and other important events in the province.

Feedback / Comment

Get in touch