7,000 barangays under election watchlist-A A +A
Friday, October 25, 2013
MORE than 7,000 barangays in the country have been placed under election watch list areas (EWA) and are being closely monitored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for Monday's barangay polls.
Police Director Cipriano Querol, chief of directorate for intelligence of the Philippine National Police (PNP), said that 7,060 barangays were placed under EWA.
Of the number, 156 are under election areas of immediate concern (EAIC) due to intense political rivalries. "That is about 16.8 percent of the 42,028 barangays in the country," Querol said.
These are also areas constantly threatened or affected by armed groups like communist insurgents and Muslim extremist rebels.
Querol noted the areas that were closely monitored include the provinces of Masbate and Compostela Valley as well as Bicol Region, Soccskargen and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm).
The Armm topped the list with the most number of election areas of concerned (EAC) with 959 and 35 under EAIC for a total of 994 EWAs or 39.92 percent of its 2,490 barangays.
Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., the PNP’s deputy chief for operations, said they expect the campaign for local posts to be more intense compared to the recently concluded midterm elections.
"Barangay elections are more heated. Some of the contenders even belong to one family," Rojas said.
As of September 28, three barangay chairpersons were killed and three others were injured in seven poll-related violent incidents.
Also part of the security preparations for the upcoming polls are setting up of checkpoints and application of search warrants against members of suspected private armed groups.
Official records from the police intelligence group disclosed there are approximately 25 private armed groups located in Armm, Cordillera and Ilocos regions but the figures are lower by half, compared to the 55 validated last May 2013 midterm elections. (Sunnex)