SAMAR — Colonel Perfecto M. Rimando Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 801st Infantry Brigade, said that the peace and order situation in Samar and Eastern Samar provinces remains manageable and generally peaceful.
Some municipalities in Samar, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar provinces have been considered as “election watchlist areas” or areas of concern by the Philippine National Police (PNP) due to election-related violence, presence of private armed groups, insurgency problem, and intense political rivalry.
“However, in as much as possible, we are not taking for granted all areas of concern because there are reports and information that armed groups exists in certain areas. We are mobilizing our soldiers, in close coordination with the PNP, to check on this reports,” said Rimando.
He said the military is always on alert in preparation for the forthcoming local and national elections in May.
He added that during the latest Regional Joint Security Coordinating Committee, plans in securing a peaceful and credible elections have been discussed.
“We are continuing our campaign on the internal security operation in our area of responsibility by conducting checkpoints. We have been receiving information that there are instances that suspected New People’s Army are seen passing through the area,” Rimando said.
“We are still confirming reports on the suspected armed groups in Matuginao and Calbayog, Samar,” he added.
Rimando appealed to the public to help the police and military by providing information, saying Samar is a huge area.
“But we are fortunate that private sector, including the media, is very much cooperative in implementing peace and security operations,” he said.
The 801st Infantry Brigade has the wider area of coverage among the three brigades under the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas.