"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Friday, August 08, 2008

ARMM polls must push through

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines will be sending two battalions to Mindanao to provide security during the conduct of the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on Monday.

Sen. Richard Gordon said Friday that threats of violence in Mindanao should not derail the ARMM elections.

The additional troops, numbering 600, will come from the Luzon and Visayas which will augment the soldiers already deployed at the Muslim region according to Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres, the military’s public information chief.

Torres said the Armed Forces would secure 1,901 voting centers with 3,156 voting machines and about 1.61 million voters. Soldiers will always be coordinating with the Philippines National Police and the Commission on Elections.

The battalions would be pulled out from units stationed in Quezon and Samar provinces, and will arrive at the Muslim region on Saturday.

ARMM polls must push through

At the upper chamber of Congress, Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms, noted that the 2005 elections in Iraq had a voter turnout of 70 percent even if it had just gone through a war “because they wanted to show that they were for democracy.

“If Iraq could conduct elections in wartime conditions, then there is really no reason for us not to be able to hold elections since we are not in a state of war,” he said.

Gordon, author of the Election Automation Law, said that the August 11 election at the ARMM would also be an opportunity to test the new automated system in preparation for the 2010 elections

“On Monday, we will witness the beginning of the era of modern elections in the Philippines,” he said.

The Commission on Elections said that with automation, the results of the Muslim region elections would be known within hours after the closing of the polls.

Gordon is confident that the automated ARMM election would also help restore the people’s trust and confidence in the electoral process.

“Our holding of automated elections in ARMM will more quickly build a foundation for peace and cut deeper inroads for development, which is a core issue of conflict in the Southern Philippines. With fast, fair, and accurate elections, we can be more certain of political stability in the ARMM,” he said.

More troops rushed for Muslim polls
By Jefferson Antiporda Reporter and Efren L. Danao, Senior Reporter
The Manila Times


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