7 Cebu villages land in first ‘hot’ list-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
CEBU CITY -- Seven barangays in Cebu province are being eyed by the police as potential election watch list areas (Ewas) in preparation for the October 28 polls.
Senior Superintendent Noel Gillamac, head of the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO), said the list is based only on the barangays’ history of election-related violence and will still be updated next week.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Government will temporarily stop granting financial assistance to the barangays and other local governments once the campaign period starts on October 18.
Vice Governor Agnes Magpale said the Capitol will maintain a non-partisan stance in the election and will not endorse any candidate.
For his part, Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama was miffed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will be holding barangay elections without a budget. This was his reaction to the Comelec’s memorandum to collect P10,000 from each barangay for the elections, which are just three weeks away.
“Dili sila magtuga-tuga’g buhat og election unya wala diay kwarta (They shouldn’t think of conducting an election when they don’t have money),” said Rama.
The mayor said as chief executive, his main concern is the provision of services for senior citizens and the barangays. But he does not see anything wrong with the barangays using the city’s financial assistance, in compliance with the Comelec memorandum.
The official campaign period will be from October 18 to 26.
As part of their preparations, the police will assess the situation in the barangays and updated their watch list as needed.
“Kumbaga, half-baked pa (This first list is still half-baked),” Gillamac said.
He said a clearer picture of the Ewas will probably emerge after the meeting of the Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSSC) on October 10.
According to the initial list, the areas that may be included in the Ewas in the southern part of Cebu are Barangays Panadtaran, Bugho, Tongo and Pitalo in San Fernando, and Barangay Guadalupe in Carcar City.
Barangay Sumon in Tuburan and Barangay Cayana in Bogo City in the northern part of Cebu were also identified as communities that need extra attention from the police.
Last May 11, a supporter of a mayoral candidate was shot and injured by two motorcycle-riding assailants in Barangay Sumon, Tuburan.
On the same day, a barangay councilor’s house was strafed by unidentified persons in Barangay Cayang, Bogo City. No one was hurt.
A day later, a man complained to the police that he was harassed by armed men in Barangay Tongo, San Fernando.
In the elections last May 13, tension rose in a polling precinct in Barangay Panadtaran, San Fernando after gunfire was heard.
This prompted police to respond and arrest 13 men, from whom they confiscated different firearms.
A vice mayoral candidate sought help from the police after his supporters were ambushed in Barangay Bugho, San Fernando. Two were hit.
In Carcar City, six members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), a truck driver, and two security escorts were blocked by armed men in Barangay Guadalupe.
The armed men took the firearms of the security escorts, while the BEIs abandoned their truck and hid.
During the interview, Gillamac said they noticed a suspicious increase in the number of voters in some barangays.
Last Sept. 26, the police initially identified 28 barangays in Central Visayas region as potential Ewas, because of their history of election-related violence, political rivalry or presence of rebels.
Apart from security, a Capitol official said that officials of the province also need to make sure they are not misconstrued to be campaigning from some barangay election candidates.
“Strikto baya ang Comelec karon (The Comelec is strict now),” Magpale said.
She referred to a tweet that Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez sent last Monday, warning against early campaign gimmicks.
“Dear barangay election 2013 hopefuls: Huwag nga kayong epal! Masyado pang maaga (Don’t be epal. It’s too early).”
“Epal” refers to public officials who use government resources to promote themselves, such as by posting their names and photos on billboards and tarpaulin sheets.
Magpale stressed that Capitol officials have no intention of endorsing any candidate or group. (Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 02, 2013.