Nation on full alert for ‘long overdue’ BSKE
BY GERARD NAVAL and VICTOR REYES
THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday urged all registered voters to come out and vote in today’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), which it said is already long overdue.
In a press briefing in Abra, Comelec chairman George Garcia assured the public that the poll body is 100 percent prepared to conduct the barangay and youth elections, which was originally scheduled back in May 2020.
“We have been preparing for so long. This has been postponed several times now. It is already getting tiresome. Tomorrow will be our opportunity, so let us not waste our chance to vote,” said Garcia, adding: “All our preparations will be for nothing if you don’t go to your polling precincts to vote.”
The last barangay and SK elections was held in 2018 with the subsequent barangay and youth polls set on May 2020. However, the polls were postponed from May 2020 to December 2022, and again from December 2022 to October 2023.
Nearly 325,000 government troops have been deployed nationwide to secure the elections.
PNP spokeswoman Col. Jean Fajardo said some 187,600 policemen are already in position, and support forces are on standby for deployment if the need arises.
“The PNP’s highest alert was already raised, we’ve upgraded to full alert,” said Fajardo. The PNP raised the nationwide full alert status last Saturday.
Armed Forces spokesman Col. Medel Aguilar said some 117,000 soldiers have been deployed to secure the elections.
“We are ready for the election… our focus is on the election areas of concern, the 361 (areas) identified by the JPSCC (Joint Peace and Security Center),” said Aguilar.
As to the instruction of AFP chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr, Aguilar said: “To support Comelec, make available our assets as soon as possible and to make sure that we will have a secured, free, orderly conduct of election.”
AFP Public Information Office chief Col. Xerxes Trinidad said the military declared its highest alert status last Friday principally for the elections.
“In view of the BSKE, the AFP is placed on red alert status effective 27 October 2023 (Friday),” said Trinidad.
“All units on the ground are also directed to place on