PNP: Over 500 areas considered election hotspots; 39 towns, 7 cities under red category
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has pinpointed over 500 areas as hotspots for the 2022 national elections, with at least 39 towns and seven cities under the red category or areas under top concern.
During the press briefing on Monday, PNP’s acting Director for Intelligence Brig. Gen. Michael John Dubria said that the 39 towns and seven cities under the red category represent only three percent of the 1,438 municipalities across the country, and five percent of the 146 cities.
“Our total election hotspots per our data is about 488 towns and 58 cities […] and the figure that we have to be concerned is the category red, there are about four categories for considered as election hotspots, the green, the yellow, the orange, and the red,” Dubria said.
“The good thing about this is under the red category, we have only three percent of out of the total 1,438 numbers of town in the country, five percent for the cities for the total […] 146 cities in the country,” he added.
However, both Dubria and PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos clarified that these numbers are only based on PNP records, and would have to be validated once the organization meets with other law enforcement sectors, like the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday.
“But then, that is subject for validation […] So ‘yon lang ‘yong figure natin, translated into just 39 towns and seven cities, ‘yon lang po ‘yong pinaka-critical na binabantayan,” Dubria said.
“Based on PNP data pa lang ano, kasi tomorrow ‘yong aming pag-confer doon sa other government agencies,” Carlos added.
Dubria and Carlos said that most of the red-category areas are within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).
“Actually the regions, varied po ang ating regions, we have in the Regions 2, 3, 5, 6, and the more numbers are registered under the BARMM,” Dubria said.
The Philippines has had a history of violent elections, especially in provinces where electoral races between rivals and families can get tight and intense. In November 2009, the wife of Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael Magudadatu and 57 others — including 32 media workers — were killed as Mangudadatu’s camp made their way to file the official’s certificate of candidacy.
The so-called Maguindanao Massacre, which was also the single largest attack on media practitioners, stemmed from the electoral race between the Ampatuans and the Mangudadatus.
Mangudadatu was then seeking the gubernatorial seat of Maguindanao, challenging the Ampatuans’ grip on the province. Members of the Ampatuan clan including former Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. were convicted last December 2019 for the incident.
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