The Western Command (WESCOM) ensured that the upcoming plebiscite for the proposed creation of three Palawan provinces on March 13 will be safe.

WESCOM chief Vice Adm. Ramil Roberto Enriquez said Friday (February 19) that they have received guidance from the higher headquarters to provide security measures during the conduct of the plebiscite.

He also said all assets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in WESCOM may also be used if needed.

“May guidance ang headquarters na tutulong kami sa election proper. Kung ano man ang mayroon kami, eroplano, barko ay puwede namin gamitin ‘yon. Basically, ang part namin ay doon sa pagse-secure. Kung ano ang kaya namin na ibigay ay ibibigay namin,” Enriquez said.

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He added that aside from the security for plebiscite day, they are also on alert for any possible terrorism-related attacks which was raised by 3rd Marine Brigade (3MBde) commander Col. Jimmy Larida.

“Isa ‘yan sa ni-raise na concern ng brigade. Sa totoo lang when I arrived here noong November, fresh pa ‘yong incident noong September at ang assessment nila ay there will be an attempt by the NPA to reinforce. Kaya ang assessment din ni Col. Larida ay hindi talaga puwedeng pabayaan,” Enriquez said.

“We will contribute to the conduct of plebiscite at hindi namin puwedeng pabayaan ang security ng province,” he added.

While the COMELEC has its own priority areas for the logistics of the plebiscite paraphernalia, Enriquez said both northern and southern part of Palawan are the focus areas of military.

“Ang tawag namin sa ganyan ay focus areas. Thankfully, ang Palawan ay hindi naman ganoon kagulo unlike sa Mindanao. Ang general focus area ay doon sa norte at sur. Target talaga na mawala sila lalo na kaunti na lang sila pero ang disadvantage ay mahirap nga sila hanapin dahil kakaunti nga sila,” he said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.