47 more areas in 'watch list'-A A +A
Saturday, March 2, 2013
THE election watch list of areas (EWAS) in Central Visayas has increased from 34 to 81 towns and cities, said the Regional Intelligence Division (RID) of the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.
The additional areas include all the towns and cities of Bohol and Siquijor and the municipalities of the fourth district of Cebu.
RID Chief Paul Labra II said the additional areas still have to be verified, though.
He said the number increased because of various factors, like incidents during previous elections in a particular area and also intense political rivalry.
"This watch list is important because this will be the basis of what we (the police) will do, like deciding how many men to deploy and which area need security the most," explained Labra.
He said the information they have is still tentative and that the number may drop, depending on their verification.
"This is not yet final. This may decrease or increase depending on our verification," Labra said.
The towns in the fourth district are Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remigio, Sta. Fe, Tabogon, and Tabuelan. Its lone city is Bogo.
Since their latest evaluation prompted them to list more areas, the police may have to meet with different candidates and discuss with them what to do to keep the May 13 elections safe and orderly.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier identified 14 towns and cities in Cebu Province that are likely to be included in the election watch list, due to previous cases of election-related violence.
In Central Visayas, 19 towns and cities are being evaluated as possible "election areas of concern" and the police said they will continue to monitor insurgent movements in Negros Oriental.
Meanwhile, 10 potential private armed groups with close to 100 members are also being monitored by authorities.
PRO 7 Director General Marcelo said there is a possibility that hired thugs would be also be used to disrupt electoral proceedings.
As part of the precautions, a gun ban took effect last Jan. 13.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 02, 2013.