THE Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Philippine Army in Negros Occidental have come up a total of 120 barangays as election areas of concern for the October 28 barangay election.
The final list was agreed on Tuesday during the Joint Peace and Security Control Center Conference held at the conference room of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office with 303rd Brigade commander Colonel Jon Aying and Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office Director Milko Lirazan including police chiefs and army commanders in the province.
Of the 120 barangays, 85 were identified as immediate areas of concern while 35 barangays were identified as less areas of concern.
The areas of operation of the PNP, the Army, including the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit, the Public Safety Battalion, and the Bacolod City Police Office are also divided into four zones with the first and second districts under Zone 1, third and fourth district and Bacolod City under Zone 2, fifth district under Zone 3, and sixth district under Zone 4.
Aying said that 300 newly hired soldiers from the third division will be deployed in the province.
Security caravan will also be deployed all over the province during the election.
Provincial Comelec supervisor Jessie Suarez, for his part, warned candidates for the slated barangay election not to engage in premature campaign otherwise face possible disqualification.
“Do not test us,” Suarez said.
Suarez said Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes “is very strict and Comelec personnel are under” orders to strictly monitor the conduct of the barangay elections.
He added that candidates are prohibited to hang posters and other campaign paraphernalia if they have already filed their certificate of candidacy.
“This is only allowed once the campaign period officially starts,” Suarez stressed.
He cited several instances in the recent local and national elections were candidates were disqualified for violating Comelec rules and guidelines.
“We have disqualified candidates for violation of the Comelec rules, this should be a lesson to barangay election candidates,” Suarez emphasized.
The filing of candidacy will end on October 17 and the campaign period will start on October 18 until a day before the election scheduled October 28.
“We are 99.9 percent prepared,” Suarez said.
He added that they are just waiting for the election paraphernalia to arrive and will also be properly secured by the government forces.
Suarez said that he also foresees a peaceful conduct of the October 28 barangay polls.
“With the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police with us, how can we fail?” he asked.