Teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors and poll watchers review the election returns during canvassing of votes at the Araullo High School in Manila on May 13, 2019.
The STAR/Miguel de Guzman
64 poll-related violence recorded in BARMM
John Unson (Philstar.com) - May 14, 2019 - 9:43pm

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — Authorities recorded only 64 violent incidents related to the Monday's elections in southern provinces, much lower than the figures logged during the 2016 electoral season.

Army Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega of the Western Mindanao Command said Tuesday there were 96 violent incidents related to the 2016 synchronized local and national elections in Regions 9, 10, 12 and in what is now the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM.

The BARMM covers Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi that originally belonged to the now defunct Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The incidents in 2016 included 25 gun attacks and 51 bombings pulled off using fragmentation grenades and improvised explosive devices.

Dela Vega said most of the incidents related to the synchronized local and senatorial elections on Monday were confusion involving supporters of politicians and a few gun attacks.

Records from WestMinCom’s 6th Infantry Division, which covers central Mindanao, and the Police Regional Office-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, indicated that more than a hundred gun owners were apprehended for violating the poll body’s ban on carrying of firearms from the start of the election period in 2018 to July this year.

The 6th ID and PRO-BARMM cover dozens of towns in central Mindanao, where residents have a strong culture of keeping firearms both as status symbol and as protection from adversarial clans.

Brig. Gen. Graciano Mijares, director of PRO-BARMM, said there were six explosions of 40 millimeter grenade projectiles in Cotabato City and in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao from between Sunday to late Monday.

“Fortunately, no one was injured in the explosions. Just the same the explosions triggered panic among local residents,” Mijares said

Mijares said the explosives, fired from a distance using launchers, landed and exploded in open fields.

Major Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said Monday’s election activities in Maguindanao, which covers 36 towns, were generally peaceful.

“We had enough preparations and our security missions under the supervision of the Commission on Elections were done in tandem with PRO-BARMM,” Sobejana said.

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