PNP: 984 villages in BARMM election ‘hot spots’
COTABATO CITY—At least 984 of 2,590 villages across the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have been classified by the police as “areas of grave concern,” or under “code red,” for the Oct. 30 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
Police Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, BARMM police director, said 284 more are under “code orange” or considered as “areas of immediate concern.”
The BARMM police earlier classified 32 towns in the region as “areas of grave concern” due to intense political rivalry among local aspirants, the presence of private armed groups and local terrorist groups, and having a history of political violence.
“The list may change as the elections draw near, [as] our evaluation and assessment are ongoing,” Nobleza said.
With a month to go before the campaign period starts, the police have already recorded three election-related violence in Lanao del Sur province and arrested 21 violators of the election gun ban in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Cotabato, Marawi and Lamitan, and in the BARMM’s special geographic area, which comprises 63 villages in Cotabato province.
Also, some 10 aspirants for village positions were victims of gun attacks, mostly in Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte, although police had yet to determine if these were related to the upcoming polls.
Nobleza said that apart from its capital Marawi City, Lanao del Sur has seven towns under code red, while Maguindanao del Sur has 13.
The towns of Datu Odin Sinsuat and Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao del Norte; Lamitan City and the towns of Hadji Mohammad Adjul, Sumisip, Tabuan Lasa, Tipo-Tipo, Tubaran and Ungkaya Pukan in Basilan; and Parang and Indanan towns in Sulu, are also listed as areas of grave concern.
Only Tawi-Tawi province has no security issues relating to the holding of the polls, Nobleza said.
In the Maguindanao del Sur towns of Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Datu Hoffer, Datu Unsay, Guindulungan and Shariff Aguak, the polls are expected to be peaceful as candidates are running unopposed, noted provincial election supervisor Allan Kadon.
At least 2,000 police officers, Nobleza said, have been trained to serve as election precinct workers in case teachers refuse to report on election day due to a breakdown of peace and order in their assigned villages.
But he clarified that the Commission on Elections had yet to decide on tapping police officers as members of the electoral boards in 10 areas in Maguindanao del Sur, as requested by the provincial peace and order council.
W. Visayas situationer
In Western Visayas region, the Regional Joint Security Control Center on Thursday declared 172 barangays in the region as election areas of concern.Of the 172 barangays, 51 are in Negros Occidental, according to regional election director Dennis Ausan.
Three villages in Negros Occidental were tagged as red or areas of grave concern, 45 as orange or areas of immediate concern, and three as yellow or areas of concern.
Iloilo has the most areas of concern at 93, followed by Negros Occidental with 51.
Of the 172 election areas of concern in Western Visayas, six are tagged as yellow, 163 as orange and three as red.
The region has 3,879 barangays under the green category or areas of no security concern.