TEN areas in Negros Oriental have been identified as election watchlist areas (EWAs) in relation to the May 13 national and local elections.
The Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) approved Thursday, April 11, the recommendation of the Negros Oriental Provincial JSCC to place these towns and cities in the Ewas, Lieutenant Colonel Ali Baron, OIC provincial police director, said.
Of the 10 hotspot areas, four are in the “orange” category -- La Libertad, Bindoy, Siaton, and San Jose. The six other areas are in the “red” category -- Manjuyod, Sta. Catalina, Guihulngan, Canlaon City, Ayungon, and Mabinay.
Following the RJSCC meeting in Cebu, a joint signing of the declaration of these areas followed, Baron said.
The signatories included Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Central Visayas Director Dennis Ausan, who is RJSCC chair, and members, Police Regional Office-Central Visayas Director Brigadier General Debold Sinas and Brigadier General Ignacio Madriaga, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.
Lawyer Eliseo Labaria, provincial election supervisor of Negros Oriental, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) is using a color-coding system in the classification of the election watchlist areas.
Green would signify a peaceful area with no cause for concern; yellow may have some “threatened barangays”; orange would mean having intense political rivalry; and red is for “critical” areas with intense political rivalry, a history of violence in previous elections, and with the presence of threat groups such as communist insurgents or criminal elements, Labaria said.
The declaration of these areas in Negros Oriental as EWAs came a day after the PJSCC met on Wednesday, April 10, to finalize the list and to discuss security, troop deployment and other matters related to the mid-term polls. (PNA)