OF THE 46 possible areas of concern in Western Visayas, 28 are under monitoring in Negros Occidental.
Six of which were under the yellow category, meaning there were intense political rivalry and election-related incidents.
A total of 39 areas were placed under the orange category, or there is a presence of local terrorist groups and organized crime groups.
One area is placed under the red category, if there is a combination of the characteristics of both yellow and orange categories.
Superintendent Joem Malong, public information officer of Police Regional Office (PRO)- Western Visayas, said on Wednesday, February 13, that these areas are still subject for change.
Malong said they will come up with a final list soon after they completed the series of meetings and re-validation with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The Comelec is the proper authority which can declare an area as an election hotspot, she added.
She said the number of these areas will either increase or decrease in the coming days, depending on the results of the validation process.
On Tuesday, February 12, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified six areas in the region which can be possibly considered as election hotspots.
Authorities, however, have yet to issue a list of these areas, pending further validation.
Previously, there was one in Iloilo province and five others in Negros Occidental, Malong said. “The list changes every now and then as validation is ongoing.”
For his part, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of PRO-Western Visayas, said the six hotspots mentioned by the national headquarters are based on the previous election.
It is still subject for further validation, he added.
Considering also that our Technical Working Group is constantly monitoring the current situation and adopting proactive measures to anticipate the forecasted threats, such consideration may change the landscape anytime such that six areas may not fall under the category of being hotspot, Bulalacao said.
“Meantime, allow us not to further name those areas so as not to create panic among our constituents,” he added.
“Rest assured that we are maximizing deployment of resources to these areas,” he said
Last month, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office is monitoring five possible election hotspots in the province due to the reported presence of armed men and election-related violence.
These areas are the towns of Moises Padilla, Isabela, Toboso, and Salvador Benedicto town, and E.B. Magalona town based on the intelligence monitoring of the provincial office.
On Tuesday, the PNP revealed a total of 701 areas listed as election hotspots for the upcoming 2019 midterm elections.
PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday, said the move is prompted by latest validated information of election watch list of areas that identified a total of 701 election hotspots that comprise 42.9 percent of the 1,634 cities and municipalities across the country. (GYM)