COTABATO CITY, Philippines - The high prevalence of clan wars in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, blamed for much of the internal displacements in some ARMM towns last year, remain a serious security problem regional authorities aim to address squarely as the elections comes near.



ARMM officials planned out security preparations in relation to the conduct of this year’s election, mostly focused on averting outbreak of politically motivated conflicts or 'rido' among rival Moro clans that pitted candidates for local and regional elective positions.


ARMM’s acting governor, Mujiv Hataman, said the regional police office and the region’s local government secretary, lawyer Makmod Mending, have been directed to tap the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in addressing election-related security issues in areas where electoral exercises have perennially been troublesome.


The presence of rido or clan feud, which accounts for the most number of internal displacements in 2012, also poses serious security threat in some areas, he said.


The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier issued separate resolutions setting guidelines on the imposition of gun ban and the setting up of checkpoints ahead of the first-ever synchronized national, local and ARMM regional election.

Maj. Gen. Caesar Ordoyo, commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said they would continue to appeal to the general public to help ensure that Comelec guidelines, especially on gun ban, are being observed.


However, officials from both the region’s police and military forces said that encouraging developments in the government-MILF peace talks will help reduce security problems during the election period.


Hataman said while the MILF does participate now in any electoral exercise in the country, it can help influence residents and political leaders to abide by the gun ban being imposed by the poll body to prevent any hostility.


“Everyone has to work together to resolve these issues, this is a shared responsibility, and all system must work to confront these challenges,” He said.


ARMM groups Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, which are both in mainland Mindanao, and the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.