Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr. on Thursday assured the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of DND and Armed Forces of the Philippines’s (AFP) support in ensuring that the forthcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will be peaceful and successful.
This was emphasized by the DND chief as he signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Comelec’s Committee on Kontra Bigay on Thursday, September 28.
“We pledge to work closely with the Comelec in ensuring that this election is a success. Kapag hindi po successful itong barangay elections na ito na sinasabi na nga po natin ay foundational, sisiklab nanaman ang internal instability natin, madidistract na naman ang AFP [if these barangay elections will not be successful, the very same elections we say is foundational, then there will be internal instability again, which will distract the AFP], for that matter, and even the Coast Guard, for what we need to do,” Teodoro said.
The Committee on Kontra Bigay, through Comelec chairman George Erwin M. Garcia, forged the MOA with the DND.
The signing was witnessed by Commissioner Ernesto Ferdinand P. Maceda Jr., commissioner-in-charge of the Committee on Kontra Bigay, and AFP chief Gen. Romeo S. Brawner Jr.
The Committee on Kontra Bigay aims to combat the deplorable practice of vote buying and selling and calls for a collective effort to eradicate its influence on the democratic process.
Teodoro said this practice pollutes democracy and must be stopped.
Meanwhile, Brawner signed a separate MOA with Garcia, wherein the Comelec deputized the AFP for the purpose of ensuring a free, orderly and peaceful barangay elections.
The AFP chief subsequently received from the poll body a cheque amounting to P40 million as support fund for the military’s administrative, operational and logistical needs as they perform their functions relative to the upcoming elections.