29 CV areason election “watchlist”
(The Freeman) - December 7, 2018 - 12:00am

Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue included

CEBU, Philippines — At least 29 cities and towns in Central Visayas, including seven in Cebu, have been identified by the regional joint security committee as “election watchlist areas” in the coming 2019 midterm elections.

The initial list was released yesterday during the first joint security meeting between the Commission on Elections, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The list includes Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Danao City and the towns of Ronda, San Fernando, and Tuburan in Cebu Province. Guihulngan City, Bais City, Siaton City, Ayungan City, Canlaon City, Mabinay, Manjuyod, Tayasan, Sta. Catalina and Zamboanguita in Negros Oriental. Buenavista, Clarin, Danao, Pilar, Tubigon, and Inabangga in Bohol and all the six towns of Siquijor Province—Siquijor, Lazi, Maria, Enrique Villanueva, Larena, and San Juan.

Comelec-7 Regional Director Rafael Olaño said the presence of armed group, intense political rivalry, and history of election-related violence were among the considerations in coming up with the list.

Police Regional Office-7 director Chief Supt. Debold Sinas said the initial list may change as the joint security committee continues to monitor the situation in other areas relative to the upcoming elections.

Sinas explained that the watchlist areas were chosen based on the reports from the field and the incidents in the past elections. According to Sinas, the towns and cities under the election watchlist will be given special concerns.

He said that the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu were included because of the population density in highly urbanized areas while San Fernando, Tuburan, and Ronda have previous reports of the presence of armed group.

In fact, Ronda Mayor Mariano Blanco was killed by unidentified armed men inside his office last September 5. Politics was among the motives that the police are looking into.

Meanwhile, the Comelec has announced that the gun ban will start on January 13. All permits to carry firearm outside residence will be suspended unless a gun ban exemption is obtained. Imarie Jane D. Madarieta (FREEMAN)

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