THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified 19 areas in Southern Mindanao that are considered "election watch list areas" (Ewas) this coming May 2010 elections.

The list includes two areas in Davao City known to be rebel-infested.

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Senior Superintendent Filmore Escobal of the police regional office said in his presentation that the Ewas areas are categorized into Category 1 and Category 2.

Category 1 means that the area has an intense political rivalry. Category 2 means that the area has the presence of the terror groups.

In the Category 1, areas listed are Magsaysay, Sulop and Malita all in the province of Davao del Sur.

Areas under Category 2, on the other hand, are identified as Bansalan, Hagonoy and Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur; New Corella and Talaingod in Davao del Norte; Montevista, Laak, Compostela, New Bataan, Maragusan, Monkayo and Pantukan in Compostela Valley; Boston and Baganga in Davao Oriental; and Paquibato and Marilog Districts in Davao City.

The Ewas identification was the result of the January 5 workshop of the police directorate for intelligence in Camp Crame.

Escobal also said that the Davao Region has no presence of any partisan armed group.

Major General Carlos Holganza, however, said that the New People's Army should be considered as the biggest partisan armed group in the country.

"Tawag ko nga sa kanila is national private army eh. They should be included in the PAG because they are the largest extortion group and the largest criminal group," Holganza said.