About 40,000 troops were standing by on Saturday in the Philippine capital of Manila on Saturday (6 November) to prevent the nationwide elections (scheduled for today, Monday 8 November) from adding to the death toll of a bloody four-month campaign.
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GV Students begin street demonstration against government
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Background: About 40,000 troops were standing by on Saturday in the Philippine capital of Manila on Saturday (6 November) to prevent the nationwide elections (scheduled for today, Monday 8 November) from adding to the death toll of a bloody four-month campaign. National police have listed 146 politically-motivated killings since the campaign got into full swing last July.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC), the body responsible for the voting, and the armed forces were coordinating their activities to ensure a peaceful turnout by the country's II-million voters for today's elections.
But latest reports from Caloocan City, just north of Manila, have claimed that armed gangs were roaming around polling booths during this morning's voting.
SYNOPSIS: In Manila on Saturday, strict security measures were enforced to prepare for the Senate and local elections, which were scheduled to take place on Monday. Up until Saturday, police where listing 146 politically-motivated killings to have taken place since the bloody campaign began in July.
Monday's elections, estimated by officials to attract 80 per cent of the country's II-million voters, were to decide eight of the Senate's 24 seats, Governorships of all 66 provinces, and thousands of mayoral and local posts.
On Saturday, 40,000 troops--more than half the active strength of the Philippine armed forces--were mobilised to stand by for the polling. They were coordinating activities with the Commission on Elections in an effort to ensure a peaceful turnout for polling, but later reports indicated there were armed gangs roaming the voting areas north of Manila early on Monday morning. Some 11,000 members of the reserve officers training corps from colleges and universities had also been called out to assist with electoral patrolling.
Demonstrations over the weekend had continued, despite the strict security measures, and were predominantly anti-Government. The polling booths were expected to close on Monday evening and counting was scheduled to begin immediately. The results were expected to indicate whether President Ferdinand Marcos, elected to a second four-year term in 1969, had fallen out of favour with the people.