By Aaron Recuenco
Some of the elite police forces earlier deployed in areas where the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite in Mindanao were held will remain to serve as stay-behind force until all the procedures for the plebiscite is done.
Director General Oscar Albayalde, chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said there were some areas where the BOL plebiscite was held that have been assessed to be critical in the coming days due to post-election threats.
“Since the BOL plebisicite was already concluded, we decided to have stay-behind force in areas which we think are critical in order to prevent post-election violence,” said Albayalde.
The official would not say how many troops would stay, and in what particular areas they will be deployed for security purposes.
While the PNP declared that the BOL plebiscites on January 21 and February 6 as peaceful, there were still some instances of atrocities reported a day before and during the plebiscite days.
In Lanao del Norte for instance, at least three explosions were reported a day before the February 6 plebiscite.
Local politicians opposed to the inclusion to the proposed Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Mindanao and some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were trading accusations of harassment and intimidation during the January 21 and February 6 plebiscites.
So far, Albayalde said they have not monitored any violent incidents relating to BOL.
He then expressed confidence that the peaceful mood in the areas where the plebisictes were held would be peaceful until the election period for the midterm elections in May ends.
But Albayalde said they will continue to intensify the security measures in central and western part of Mindanao.
It was recalled that most of the 77 partisan armed groups monitored to have resurge for this year’s elections are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.