Over 700 personnel from different government uniformed agencies were deployed all over the city and Palawan municipalities on Tuesday under the Joint Task Force Peacock (JTFP) following a readiness inspection and send-off ceremony at the 3rd Marine Brigade in Barangay Tiniguiban.
The troops are composed of personnel from the 2nd Special Operations Unit-Maritime Group (2nd SOU-MG), Coast Guard District Palawan (CGDP), Palawan Provincial Police Office (PPPO), Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO), Tactical Operation Wing West (TOW WEST), Naval Forces West (NFW), Naval Reserve Center West (NRCW), 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBDe) and its Marine Battalion Landing Team-4 and Marine Battalion Landing Team-12.
Brigadier General Charlton Sean Gaerlan, JTFP and 3MBDe commander, said the polling centers will be manned by personnel from the different units that will be led by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
He said they have also prepared a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) that will respond in case of an emergency or incident.
“Just enough [ang mga bilang ng mga tropa sa presinto] at may PNP rin na kasama. Ang ginawa natin kung kaya na minimum [ang bilang] ‘yon muna and kapag may problema ‘yong QRF na lang ang magre-react. Ngayon dalawa [per area] pero may iba na marami, depende sa lugar,” he said.
Gaerlan added elections are always “challenging” because no one can predict what will happen.
He assured, however, that they are “more than prepared for anything.”
He said the towns of Bataraza, Quezon, and Roxas are “hotspot areas” in the province while there is none identified in the 66 barangays in Puerto Princesa City.
“Ang challenge lang naman ay ‘yong doon na sa actual day kasi hindi natin alam ano ang pwedeng mangyari, although lahat naman nakaplano na hindi pa din natin mapredict kung saan or if ever na mayron man na mga pangyayari, sana wala naman mangyari [during election day]. Ang mga hotspot natin ay binase ‘yon sa previous election related incident, pero hindi naman ganon kalala. Sa Puerto ay wala tayong nakita na mga hotspot,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel John Manuel Cortez, commander of the Joint Task Group Puerto Princesa (JTGPP), said they already deployed military personnel for election duties in areas in the city ahead of Monday’s readiness inspection and send-off.
“We have already deployed personnel as early as May 3 then yesterday we deployed personnel in different polling centers ng Puerto Princesa,” Cortez said.
The MBLT-4 and MBLT-12 have also deployed their personnel with the PNP and other units.