2 Cebu towns election hotspots
Mae Clydyl L. Avila (The Freeman) - February 13, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — San Fernando and Tuburan towns in Cebu have been classified as election hotspots and will be watched closely along with 60 other towns and cities in Region 7.

 

Police Regional Office - 7 Director Debold Sinas said San Fernando in the south and Tuburan in the north are under category red, which means there is presence of political rivalry, threats of armed groups, and history of election-related violence in these places.

A local government unit is considered a hotspot if it is under category red.

Five towns in Bohol are under category red, including Buenavista, Clarin, Danao, Pilar, and, Inabanga.

Five towns in Negros Oriental are also under category red, including Siaton, Manjuyod, Guihulngan City, Ayungon, and Mabinay.

Meanwhile, 12 local government units in Cebu, including Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Lapu-Lapu City are under category orange, which means there is a presence of private armed groups there.

The three are under category orange specifically because of alleged killings of political enemies, and the spate of killings of high-profile personalities.

Also under category orange are the cities of Danao, Bogo, and Carcar, and the towns of Pinamungajan and San Francisco in Camotes Islands.

Also under category orange are 18 LGUs in Bohol and 15 LGUs in Negros Oriental.

Moreover, the towns of Pilar, Poro, and Tudela also in Camotes Islands are under category yellow, which means there is a possibility of armed groups getting deployed there.

Sinas said during the Joint Coordinating Meeting with the Armed Forces of the Philippines that the numbers can still change.

“Subject to change pa ni because there are still ongoing meetings and assessment so hinay-hinay og downgrade, except in Negros Oriental (This is still subject to change because there are ongoing meetings and assessment… we can downgrade, except Negros Oriental),” Sinas said.

If the technical working group sees that the presence of New People’s Army, Private Armed Groups, or the possibility of armed encounter will decrease, the local government unit will be removed from the categories.

The technical working group is composed of different government agencies, including the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Commission on Elections, and Coastguard, among others.

AFP-CentCom chief, Lt. General Noel Clement, told reporters they are ready to assist the PNP to keep this year’s election secure and safe.

He said special attention is being given to Negros Oriental because of the presence of the New People’s Army.

“Ang marami is in Negros because of the presence of NPA… to deploy more AFP together with PNP, to make sure they will not disrupt the conduct of elections… very important is ang candidate will cooperate (We have deployed more men in Negros because of the presence of NPA… to deploy more AFP and PNP, to make sure they will not disrupt the conduct of elections… and it is important for the candidate to cooperate),” Clement said.

Sinas said considering the killing of two councilors in Cebu, the objective is to prevent more blood from spilling during elections.

“We are doing our best to prevent any eventualities, based on history, wala’y bloody, since killings are not always politically-motivated, we have to look and assess first,” Sinas said.

Clement also assured that the AFP continues to monitor the situation in the region to also avoid rebel resurgence.

“Usa sad na sa amo gi-prevent nga dili sila maka-regroup diri sa Cebu to disrupt the activities in Cebu, especially tourism and economic activity, that’s why we work together with PNP. Dili na ta maghulat nga naa mahitabo; before pa ta mag-alerto (What we’re also preventing is for rebel groups to re-group and disrupt activities in Cebu, especially in tourism. Let’s not wait for something to happen. We have to be alert now),” Clement said. JMO (FREEMAN)

ELECTION HOTSPOTS
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