28 barangays in Central Visayas listed as possible election hotspots
Cebu City (29 September) -- Twenty-eight barangays in Central Visayas are undergoing continuing assessment for possible declaration as Election Watchlist Areas (EWA) as the campaign period for the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections draws near.
Police Regional Office (PRO-7) Regional Intelligence Division Chief S/Supt. Patrocinio Commendador during this morning's 'Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis' (TSIP) Forum disclosed that 25 out of the 28 barangays are found in Negros Oriental and three in Bohol.
The 28 barangays are classified under Category 1 which means that these areas have a history of political violence and intense political rivalry, this is said.
"We are looking at 28 barangays as of now and we are continuing our assessment for validation to determine whether we need to take action," according to Commendador.
No barangays in Cebu have been placed under the possible EWA but Commendador said they are closely monitoring three municipalities in the province for possible election-related incidents which need to be broke down into barangays.
PRO-7 Regional Director C/Supt. Ager P Ontog Jr. said there are no barangays so far declared as EWA under Category 2. Category 2 refers to rebel-infested areas.
"Cebu, Bohol and Siquijor are declared as rebel-free provinces while Negros Oriental may have packets of rebel activities, we are working closely with the military to ensure that peace is maintained in the area," Ontog stressed.
But Armed Forces of the Philippines - Central Command Spokesperson Lt. Col. Wilson Feria said they are likewise conducting regular assessment of the barangays in Negros Oriental that might be rebel-infested.
"We are looking at hinterland barangays to check possibilities of local terrorist movement," Feria bared.
Feria said that a meeting will take place tomorrow to discuss and assess further the situation in Negros Oriental.
As the election gun ban took effect last Saturday, two persons have already been arrested in Negros Oriental and Cebu City.
To arrest the proliferation of loose firearms especially with the election gun ban, the police have already conducted a total of 200 checkpoint operations in the entire region, this is reported.
"We are strengthening our checkpoint operations to ensure that no loose firearms will be used during the election campaign period and that the forthcoming polls will be peaceful and free from violence, Ontog said.
Commission on Elections (Comelec-7) Regional Director Atty. Veronio Petalcorin in the same forum said, that there have been no major problems encountered during the Barangay and SK Elections based on previous experience.
Petalcorin however, told those running for the coming polls to follow the Comelec guidelines on campaigning such as poster size should not exceed 2 x 3 feet and these should be pasted in designated-poster areas and not on trees or posts.
"If an aspiring barangay or SK leader follows the Comelec rule, then he or she is a law-abiding citizen which makes him or her a good leader," Petalcorin ended.
Start of the filing for candidacy to the Barangay and SK Elections start on October 1 while the campaign period will begin on October 14-23, 2010. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]