Philippines won’t declare ceasefire with dissident groups during May 14 polls

May. 10, 2007

MANILA — The Department of National Defense (DND) will not recommend to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the declaration of a ceasefire with the dissident groups during the May 14 midterm elections in order to avoid unauthorized and unnecessary movements of possible troublesome groups.

“We are not recommending an election truce. Generally, ayaw natin na magkaroon ng unnecessary and unauthorized movements (of the groups who are planning to sabotage the election),” Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. said following the taping of “The Cabinet Speaks,” hosted by Press Assistant Secretary Jose Capadocia and Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) reporter Rey Mercaral at the New Executive Building (NEB) Briefing Room this afternoon.

At the same time, Ebdane called on all officials and members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help and coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure the peaceful and orderly conduct of the elections on Monday.

“Gawin nating mapayapa ang halalan,” Ebdane said as he urged the soldiers to think and always consider the feelings of the Filipino people who want a peaceful, progressive and economically-developed country, as a whole.

He also asked the men and women of the AFP to exercise their right to vote judiciously, thinking of the welfare of the majority of the people and using their conscience in selecting the qualified candidates based on their platform of government and not on popularity.

On the issue of military deployment, Ebdane assured the public that the role of the soldiers will be in compliance with the directives of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to ensure the peaceful conduct of the elections.

He said that the AFP is coordinating with the PNP for the soldiers to assist the police authorities in case there is a threat to sabotage the conduct of the polls.

The AFP, he stressed, is tasked to secure the crowd at all times, especially the voting populace.

Ebdane predicted that overall, the 2007 elections would be peaceful and orderly. (OPS)

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