Areas labeled as ‘grave concern,’ monitored for serious armed threats
The Commission on Elections has placed 104 municipalities and 14 cities under its “red category” for possible election-related violence.
The Commission on Elections is monitoring 104 municipalities and 14 cities placed under “red category” due to possible election-related violence.
“We are monitoring these areas. If violence erupts that threatens peace during elections, we might be constrained to declare these areas under Comelec control,” Comelec chairperson Saidamen Pangarungan said.
“We have a joint regional security sector headed by the regional election director and the highest regional Philippine National Police commander and regional Armed Forces of the Philippines commander. They help us and they recommend what areas to declare under Comelec control,” he added.
The Comelec election hotspot list has four categories—green, yellow, orange, and red.
Green refers to areas that do not have security concerns and are generally peaceful and orderly, while yellow are areas of concern, which means that these have a history of election-related incidents in the last elections, possible employment of partisan armed groups, the occurrence of politically motivated election-related incidents and had been previously declared under Comelec control.
Orange, on the other hand, means areas of immediate concern where there is a serious armed threat; while Red means areas of grave concern, which exhibit combined factors under the Yellow category with serious armed threats that may warrant the motu proprio (on its own) declaration of Comelec control.
On Thursday, the PNP said it has recorded 28 election-related incidents from Jan. 9 up to April 17, of which 21 were later shown to have nothing really to do with the elections.
The municipalities of Tubatan and Malabang in Lanao del Sur have so far been placed under Comelec control due to the reported threats weeks ago leading to the polls.
Meanwhile, PNP personnel who are related to or have connections with candidates have been reassigned to other areas to prevent them from being tagged as involved in partisan politics, PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos said Sunday.
“During the start of the election period, we have reassigned those who have relatives or are familiar with the local elected officials.
That’s why we had a rotation of police chiefs so that the familiarity they had in those areas will not be used against them,” Carlos said in a dzBB interview.
“Those we discovered who did not declare [they had relatives running] were relieved [from their posts]. We also have police that needed to be removed from their areas so people would not have any doubts. We must be balanced, we must be neutral,” he added.
The PNP will deploy its administrative staff as well as 16,000 cops under training during and prior to the May 9 polls to serve as additional personnel on the ground.
“We want our police to be able to vote where they are registered and they will also be on duty in that particular area. We will have a maximized deployment for the elections,” Carlos said.