The Philippine Army’s 53rd Infantry “Matapat” Battalion (53IB) continues to strengthen conflict resiliency as it conducted a Local Peace Forum in connection with the 2022 National and Local Elections which was participated by the candidates for mayoral, vice-mayoral, barangay official posts in Pagadian City on April 25, 2022.
The peace forum highlighted the measures to eliminate election related incidents which was delivered by 53IB Operations Officer 1Lt. Jonathan Cernitchez; lecture on gun ban and illegal firearms which was delivered by Atty. Gretchen Mae Ortega; deployment plan of Pagadian City police presented by Pagadian City Chief of Poilice PLt. Col. Khisna Asaali; and the convergence and collaboration between the 53IB and the PNP and the cooperation of the candidates toward a peaceful and secured elections.
In his message, 53IB Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera said that peace is a shared responsibility and that a collaborative effort is necessary to achieve a peaceful elections.
“The Army will protect the people to make sure they will be able to vote and practice their right to suffrage. We will not tolerate the existence of armed individuals as we were tasked to destroy them to keep the people safe and ensure a peaceful elections,” said Lt. Col. Herrera.
ZamboSur Police Provincial Director PCol. Diomarie Albarico in his message read by ZSPPO Deputy Provincial Director for Operations PLt. Col. Rey Alimanza, said that the ZamboSur Police Provincial Office will remain professional, apolotical, and non-partisan in carrying out its duties.
“The Zamboanga del Sur Police Provincial Office with high professionalism and enthusiasm will adhere to the instruction of the President and Chief, PNP to not allow terrorism, intimidation, harassment, violence, and bloodshed and do only what is lawful and will not engage in any illegal activities,” said PLt. Col. Alimanza as he read the message of PD Albarico.
Meanwhile, Assistant Division Commander of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division (1ID) Brig. Gen. Jose Randolf Sino Cruz asked for the confidence of the participants as he assured them that the Philippine Army will be honest and do its best to ensure that there will be no failure of elections in Zamboanga del Sur.
“Your Philippine Army will be honest and truthful. We have a constitution to follow, and we will remain apolitical and neutral. We will do our best to ensure that there will be no failure of elections here in Pagadian City and Zamboanga del Sur as a whole,” said Brig. Gen. Sino Cruz.
The Mayoral candidates for Pagadian City also gave their respective messages during the forum. Just earlier this year, Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr. ordered the Army troops to dismantle private armed groups that may spoil the elections in May.