29 Central Visayas cities, towns on election watch list
CEBU CITY — Police and military presence will be intensified in 29 towns and cities in Central Visayas that have been declared election watch list areas (EWAs) based on their history of election-related incidents.
Of the number, 10 are in Negros Oriental, seven in Cebu, six in Bohol and six in Siquijor.
In Cebu, the EWAs are the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Danao as well as the municipalities of Ronda, San Fernando, and Tuburan.
Except for Tuburan, all EWAs in Cebu were classified as yellow which means the place had previous election-related incidents, and intense political rivalry, said Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, director of the Central Visayas police.
Tuburan, on the other hand, was placed under the orange category, with all factors indicated in the first category, including armed threats.
All EWAs in Negros Oriental are placed under the orange category.
These are the cities of Guihulngan, Bais, Siaton, and Canlaon and the towns of Ayungon, Mabinay, Tayasan, Sta. Catalina and Zamboanguita.
Placed under the yellow category in Bohol are Buenavista, Clarin, Danao, and Pilar towns.
Tubigon and Inabanga towns, on the other hand, are under the orange category.
All EWAs in Siquijor are placed under the yellow category-–the towns of Enrique Villanueva, Larema, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siquijor.
No place in Central Visayas was put under the red category, which has all the critical factors, including the proliferation of firearms.
“The basis of this watchlist is history and the criteria given by the police headquarters in Camp Crame in coordination and consultation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Elections (Comelec),” said Sinas in an interview on Thursday.
Government agencies held their coordinating conference at Camp Sergio Osmeña, headquarters of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas based in Cebu City, to discuss the security preparations for the May 13, 2019 elections.
Rafael Olaño, Comelec director for Central Visayas, said the election gun ban would take effect on Jan. 30. The police bodyguards of politicians shall also be recalled on the same day.
“Anyone who wants to be exempted from the gun ban can submit their applications now. Those who will qualify can be exempted,” he said.
Sinas said they were constantly monitoring the EWAs to make sure no violent incidents happen. “The categories could change any time. We are constantly evaluating,” he said.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.