PNP tags 19 areas as possible election hotspots
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday tagged 19 cities and municipalities as possible election hotspots across the country during the midterm polls in May.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said the police have verified that seven of these areas have records of heated political rivalry and presence of insurgents and other armed groups.
The list of the seven areas, however, has not been released to the media as of this posting.
The 19 possible election hotspots according to the PNP are:
Sudipen and Balaoan in La Union
Jones in Isabela
Lemery in Batangas
Roxas in Oriental Mindoro
Balud and Dimasalang in Masbate
Daraga in Albay
Pagadian in Zamboanga del Sur
Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental
Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Lantawan, and Tipo-Tipo in Basilan
Marawi City and Sultan Dumalundong in Lanao del Sur
Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, and Datu Unsay in Maguindanao
Albayalde said the PNP has yet to identify the number of police personnel to be deployed in these areas, but he already sent an additional battalion to Mindanao for the plebiscite on the Bangsamoro Organic Law on Jan. 21 and Feb. 6.
“We just have to consolidate our troops… or re-deploy our personnel particularly [those] coming from the police regional mobile groups,” he said in a press briefing on Monday.
Earlier, Commission on Elections chairman Sheriff Abas said they have received a recommendation from local officers of the poll body to put the municipality of Daraga in Albay and Cotabato City under its control.
This comes after Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe and his police escort SPO2 Orlando Diaz were killed in an alleged politically motivated assassination in Albay, and after the blast in Cotabato City that left 2 dead and 34 others wounded.
Areas under the control of the Comelec will be secured by a task force headed by one of the Comelec commissioners, the regional commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the regional director of the PNP. /ee
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