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For the May 9 elections in Central Visayas, 1.7K security troops have been deployed.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – According to the chief regional election official, the Central Visayas region is now ready for the May 9 national and local elections, with the deployment of 1,700 uniformed officers to secure polling stations and teachers to serve on the board of election inspectors (BEI).

The simultaneous multi-forces send-off event at the South Road Properties here was headed by lawyer Dennis Ausan, regional director of the Commission on Elections-Central Visayas (Comelec-7), who claimed the region is on track with its election preparations.

“We are ready, and all that remains is final testing and sealing of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) before they are deployed to polling stations,” Ausan told reporters.

On Thursday, he said, the Comelec in the region will begin distributing VCMs, accountable and non-accountable forms, and supplies.

Comelec has set up a regional technical and repair hub here, he said, to handle any VCMs that may fail during the testing.

Comelec has also established technical centers in Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor to repair damaged secure digital (SD) cards, according to Ausan.

He added that they are also working with the Philippine National Grid Corporation to provide a stable power supply before and on election day, as well as until the end of the canvassing.

Bohol, he said, is a source of concern because of its unpredictable power supply, prompting the NGCP and the Department of Energy to deploy generator sets and solar panels.

Meanwhile, Ausan claims that only a few localities in the region have been classified as “red” election watchlist zones (EWAS).

Salustiano Jimenez, regional director of the Department of Education, stated the instructors are now ready to perform their duties as BEI.

“We are closely collaborating with the LGUs (local government units) and the Comelec to make our instructors and schools ready,” he stated when questioned about schools affected by Typhoon Odette.

On the other side, Brig. Gen. Roque Eduardo Vega, the chief of the Police Regional Office (PRO-7) informed the public that enough security officers will be present at polling stations on election day.

According to Vega, 1,580 of the 1,700 uniformed men are members of the Philippine National Police who were dispatched by their separate units in the region.

Military soldiers will also be sent to bolster the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fire Protection, according to Col. Jerry Borja, commander of Task Group Cebu of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We can tell you that our people will act as deputized agents,” Borja informed the Philippine News Agency that the AFP has yet to announce the number of soldiers who will serve in the election.

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