CEBU CITY, Philippines—The Philippine National Police has identified 173 cities and towns in the Visayas as “election watchlist areas” in relation to the May 13 elections.
The places include 81 in Central Visayas, 52 in Eastern Visayas and 40 in Western Visayas.
These have been categorized as areas of concern because they have been affected by the communist insurgency, were the scenes of election related violence in the 2007 and 2010 elections and are characterized by intense political rivalry.
More than half or 48 of the problem areas in Central Visayas are in Bohol due to the intense rivalry between the incumbent Governor Edgar Chatto and Mayor Conchita Torribio-Delos Reyes of Carmen in the race for governor.
Bohol is followed by Cebu province, with 16 towns and cities on the PNP watchlisty; Negros Oriental, with 11; and Siquijor, with 6.
Most of the problem places in Cebu are in the mid-north area due to the close political rivalry between reelectionist Representative Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’’s 4th district and his challenger, former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez III.
In Western Visayas, 40 towns and municipalities were categorized as areas of concern, or 30 percent of the total of 16 cities and 117 towns in Western Visayas.
Of the 40 places placed on the PNP watchlist, 13 are in Negros Occidental, 12 in Iloilo, seven in Antique, five in Capiz, and three in Aklan, said Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., Western Visayas police director.
In Negros Occidental, the places of concern are the cities of Sipalay, Escalante and Himamaylan and the towns of Pulupandan, Moises Padilla, Toboso, Cauayan, Isabela, Ilog, Candoni, Murcia, Calatrava and La Castellana.
In the province of Iloilo, they include Passi City and the towns of Estancia, Maasin, San Enrique, San Dionisio, Igbaras, Calinog, Tubungan, Lemery, Leon and Miag-ao. Also included is Jaro District in Iloilo City.
The election watchlist in Antique includes Barbaza, Laua-an, Tibiao, San Remegio, Sibalom, Anini-y and Libertad while the places of concern in Capiz are the towns of Cuartero, Maayon, Pilar, Mambusao and Tapaz.
Three towns in Aklan are the the PNP watchlist: the capital town of Kalibo, Buruangga and Lezo.
In Eastern Visayas, the PNP watchlist includes 13 places in Leyte, 18 in Samar, 8 in Eastern Samar and 13 in Northern Samar.
Only the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran were not included on the PNP watchlist.
In Leyte, the places of concern are Baybay and Ormoc cities and the towns of Bato, Inopacan, Kananga, Matag-ob, Tabango, San Miguel, Albuera, Burauen, Carigara, Jaro and MacArthur.
The watchlist for Samar includes the cities of Calbayog and Catbalogan and the towns of Daram, Gandara, Matuguinao, San Jorge, Sta. Margarita, Tagapul-an, Zummaraga, Basey, Hinabangan, Jiabong, Paranas, Pinabacdao, San Jose de Buan, Sta. Rita, Motiong and Tarangnan.
In Eastern Samar, the places of concern are the towns of Arteche, Taft, Can-avid, Dolores, Hernani, General MacArthur, Jipapad and Quinapondan.
In Northern Samar they are the towns of Bobon, Catubig, Mapanas, Mondragon, Palapag, San Isidro, Gamay, Las Navas, Lavezares, Lope de Vega, Pambujan, Capul and Victoria.