Bantay sarado! 19 poll hotspots tagged in Luzon, Mindanao
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday bared that 19 towns, cities and municipalities in Luzon and Mindanao were placed under the election watchlist areas (EWAs) for the upcoming 2019 midterm polls.
PNP chief, Director General Oscar Albayalde, said among the areas of concern are the towns of Sudipen and Balaoan in Launion;Jones in
Isabela; Lemery in Batangas; Roxas town in Oriental Mindoro; Balud and Dimasalang in Masbate; and Daraga town in Albay.
The list also includes areas in the Mindanao such as Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur; Cagayan de Oro City; Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Tipo-Tipo and Lantawan in Basilan; Sultan Dumalundong, Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Datu Unsay in Maguindanao; and Marawi City.
Albayalde said the history of violent elections in the past, as well as presence of armed groups and other threat groups such as communist rebels, is the reason why they included the areas in hotspot list.
“Out of that 19, we have validated seven that these areas are really concerned areas, hotspots or EWAs. There were incidents of violence before, heated rivalry and presence of insurgents and other threat groups,” Albayalde said in a press conference at Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“We also included intense rivalry and presence of big threat groups as the reasons for the inclusion in the list,” he added.
The PNP has initially listed 18 cities and towns but Daraga town was recently included after incumbent mayor Carlwyn Baldo was accused of ordering the killing of Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe. Batocabe who was supposed to run for mayor of the town.
Special case for security preparations, Albayalde said, is Cotabato City and nearby areas following the December 31 bombing that left three people dead.
Albayalde said they deployed a battalion of police commandos in Cotabato City for the conduct of plebiscite for the Bangsamoro Organic Law next week—which is said to be the reason behind the bomb attack.
“In some areas we will see. We just have to consolidate our troops or re-deploy our personnel particularly coming from the police regional mobile groups,” he said. (PNA)
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