PNP monitoring 19 election ‘hotspot’ towns, cities
The Philippine National Police on Monday released a list of 19 towns and cities across the country that it considers as election “hot spots.”
The list now includes Daraga town in Albay province, where Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe was shot dead on Dec. 22 in what police said was a politically motivated assasination.
Batocabe was a leading candidate in the town’s mayoral race.
Police said the 19 areas were included in Category III, meaning these had experienced election-related violence.
Earlier placed under Category III were Sudipen and Balawan in La Union province, Jones in Isabela, Lemery in Batangas, Roxas in Oriental Mindoro, Balud and Dimasalang in Masbate, Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur and Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.
7 areas of concern
Around half of the Category III areas is in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, namely Hadji Mohammad Ajul, Lantawan, and Tipo-Tipo in Basilan; Marawi City and Sultan Dumalondong in Lanao del Sur; and Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, Shariff Saydona Mustapha and Datu Unsay in Maguindanao.
“Out of that 19, we have validated seven that are really [areas of concern] … where there were incidents of violence before, with heated political rivalry and presence of insurgents and other threat groups,” PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said at a press conference in Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Monday.
The PNP has conducted 4,447 checkpoint operations nationwide since the election period began on Sunday, resulting in the arrest of 25 people and the confiscation of 27 firearms.
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.