173 Visayas areas tagged poll concernBy Chito O. Aragon, Joey A. Gabieta, Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
CEBU CITY—Police have identified 173 cities and towns in the Visayas as areas of concern for the May 13 elections.
The areas include 81 in Central Visayas, 52 in Eastern Visayas and 40 in Western Visayas.
The towns and cities have been categorized as areas of concern because of insurgency, history of election violence and intense political rivalries in previous elections.
At least 48 of the areas in Central Visayas are in Bohol due to intense rivalry between Gov. Edgar Chatto and Carmen Mayor Conchita Toribio Delos Reyes in the gubernatorial race.
This is followed by Cebu province which has 16 towns and cities on the police watch list. Negros follows with 11 and Siquijor with six.
Most of the areas of concern in Cebu are in the mid-north area due to close political rivalry between reelectionist Rep. Benhur Salimbangon of Cebu’s fourth district and his challenger, former Bogo City Mayor Celestino Martinez III.
In Western Visayas, 40 towns and municipalities are categorized as areas of concern. Of the 40 areas on the watch list, 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 areas 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 Iloilo, the areas 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 watch list areas in Antique include Barbaza, Laua-an, Tibiao, San Remegio, Sibalom, Anini-y and Libertad while those in Capiz are the towns of Cuartero, Maayon, Pilar, Mambusao and Tapaz.
Three towns in Aklan on the watch list are the capital town of Kalibo, Buruanga and Lezo.
In Eastern Visayas, the areas of concern include 13 in Leyte, 18 in Samar, eight in Eastern Samar and 13 in Northern Samar.
Only the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran are not on the watch list.