Davao del Sur declared election hotspot

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Friday, February 15, 2013


THE Police Regional Office (PRO) identified Davao del Sur province as the only election hotspot among the provinces in the Davao Region.

PRO regional deputy spokesperson, Senior Inspector Rowena M. Jacosalem, said Davao del Sur has been placed as under Category 1 in their election watchlist.

The watchlist has two categories. Category 1 includes areas where there is a high possibility of occurrence of politically-motivated violent incidents, while under Category 2 are those with serious arm threats posed by armed groups.

"Under Category 1, we only have eight barangays, four municipalities and one city in Davao del Sur," Jacosalem said during the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Press Corps forum at the Task Force Davao (TFD) headquarters Thursday.

Falling under Category 2 are Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte and Davao City.

In Compostela Valley, there about 100 barangays from seven municipalities while in Davao Oriental, there are 32 barangays from eight municipalities.

"Davao del Norte recorded the least areas under our watchlist with three barangays from one municipality while Davao City has eight barangays from two districts," Jacosalem added.

Chief of the community relations division of the PRO Superintendent Filmore Escobal said one of the election hotspots in Davao del Sur is Malita, where a shooting incident took place in a previous election.

"Naa pud presensya sa mga lawless armed groups sama aning New People's Army (NPA) sa ubang probinsya sa Davao Region. Kining mga lugara, continuous pa ni nga i-validate sa atong Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Council (JPSCC) para ma-update ni sila (There are also the presence of the NPA in the other provinces of Davao Region. These areas are being validated by JPSCC so that the hotspots will be updated)," Escobal said.

With the hotspot area identified, the AFP and the PNP have already implemented preventive measures to ensure the security of the upcoming elections this coming May 13.

Escobal said they already have pre-deployment plans and have already identified the areas where they could focus the deployment of law enforcers.

Spokesperson for the 10th Infantry Division (10th ID), Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, said they have launched the campaign plan and contingencies to prevent the permit to campaign strategy of the NPA.

"We also have deployed soldiers in 96 barangays in the region not only to conduct our Peace and Development Outreach Program but to ensure the security of the people during elections," Paniza said.

He said they are also committed to provide security during the campaign rallies. They will just have to coordinate with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) if they are allowed to deploy their forces.

The hostpot areas, however, may change come the campaign period which kicks off on March 29 candidates running for local positions.

The AFP, PNP and Comelec are monitoring the different provinces in Davao Region to determine if there are any changes in the election watchlist.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 15, 2013.

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