MANILA, Philippines – Around 2,000 cops and soldiers gathered inside Camp Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat in Maguindanao on Friday, January 18 for a formal send- off to secure the historic Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite.
Part of a 20,000-strong joint police and military force, the personnel are expected to protect an estimated 2.8 million voters from extremist groups who might sabotage the the culmination of a decades-long peace process.
This is why the government only saw it fit to give them an elaborate send-off.
WATCH: PNP chief Oscar Albayalde lands in Maguindanao for security preparations for the Bangsamoro plebiscite. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/kBHAMRl7je — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) January 18, 2019
WATCH: Troops ready to secure the Bangsamoto plebsicite in formation inside the Amry 6th Infantry Division's headquarters in Maguindanao. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/H0GZIDKE5T — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) January 18, 2019
The troopers were ordered in formation as early as 8 am on Friday for a program that started at 10 am.
A Muslim Imam and a Catholic priest offered prayers for the troopers, asking that they may be granted strength to maintain peace during the plebiscite and beyond. (READ: A new jihad: Helping Marawi)
WATCH: Cops and soldiers to secure Bangsamoro plebiscite are sent off with Islamic and Christian prayers. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/62en6xiosK — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) January 18, 2019
WATCH: Cops and soldiers to secure Bangsamoro plebiscite are sent off with Islamic and Christian prayers. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/eJpG8WwaSn — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) January 18, 2019
The strength of the joint forces were precisely put on display for the occasion. Tanks lined the end of the formation, and helicopters hovered over the field to bid the troopers good luck.
The cops and soldiers’ leaders, meanwhile, gave their own speeches, asking them to stay the course in maintaining peace in Mindanao.
After they read their messages, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Oscar Albayalde and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal Jr spoke personally with their respective personnel to raise their morale.
WATCH: Send-off for cops and soldiers in Maguindanao concludes with PNP and AFP generals personally speaking to their troopers securing the Bangsamoro plebiscite. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/rV0XJec8PY — Rambo Talabong (@rambotalabong) January 18, 2019 – Rappler.com