By Mario S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY, 27Oct2013 (PNA) – The Philippine Army has deployed a 250-man contingent to Masbate to assist in the maintenance of orderly barangay elections on Monday, an Army officer said Sunday.
Army Capt. Arthur Eamiguel, Army’s 903rd Infantry Brigade spokesperson, said the Army unit belonging to the 80th Infantry Battalion came from Manila to assist Task Force “Rodeo” as an augmentation to the security forces in the island province.
Eamiguel said the deployment of Army soldiers is part of the plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to quickly react to any election-related violence and to ensure the conduct of a safe, honest, orderly, peaceful and credible election, particularly in the province of Masbate.
The augmentation force is under Lt. Col. Ted Dumosmog, commander of the 80th IB and will be under the command of Col. Samuel Felipe, 903rd IB commander and head of Task Force “Rodeo.”
The 9th Infantry Division created the task force to provide internal peace and security in the province, especially during the holding of the barangay election on Monday.
TF Rodeo was deployed to Masbate province effective Saturday.
It is composed of different units headed by the 903rd Infantry Brigade, Headquarters Service Battalion of the 9th ID, 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company and the 93rd Division Reconnaissance Company.
This is the second deployment of 80th IB in Masbate province as it was the same unit that performed election duties during the mid-term elections in May 2013.
Felipe assured the Masbatenos that the “role of the additional troops in the province is part of the Comelec’s deputization of the AFP to perform election-related security operations.”
He added that this mandate is a joint effort of the AFP and the Philippine National Police.
Currently, there are five municipalities in Masbate classified as Category “B” or areas of immediate concern and they are as follows: Aroroy, Balud, Cataingan, Cawayan and Mobo. (PNA)