PNP tags 6,904 villages as election areas of concern
MANILA, Philippines—About 16 percent of the country’s total number of villages was considered as “areas of concern” in reference to the forthcoming barangay (village) elections on October 28, a Philippine National Police Official said.
The percentage represents 6904 villages tagged as “election areas of concern,” and the 156 other villages tagged as “election areas of immediate concern,” Police Director Cipriano Querol, PNP director for Intelligence, said during the command conference of Commission on Elections, PNP, and Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
“The parameters in considering an area as election area of concern are the existence of intense political rivalry, and of course, if the area is affected and threatened by threat groups,” Querol said.
He said they are focused more on the situation in Masbate, Compostela Valley, Region 12, ARMM, and Region 5.
To prevent election-related violence from happening, especially in these areas, Deputy Director General Felipe Rojas Jr., PNP deputy chief for Operations, said part of their security preparations for the election is the conduct of activities prior, during, and after the balloting.
Operations before the elections, he said, are the establishment of checkpoints, implementation of Oplan Katok, application for search warrants against suspected personalities being protected by private armed groups, as well as confiscation of loose firearms, among others.
And during the Election Day on October 28 and until the proclamation of winners, Rojas said government troops would be deployed to polling precincts to ensure the peaceful conduct of the electoral process.
As to the issue of private armed groups, Rojas said they were looking at 25 groups, of which most were monitored in ARMM, Region 1 and Cordillera Administrative Region.
Compared to the May 13 elections, the number of private armies monitored have gone down.
“Dati ito ay 55 nung May 13 elections. Ngayon naging 25 na lang,” Rojas said.