PNP places 440 villages in W. Visayas on watch list
ILOILO CITY—Villages threatened or influenced by communist rebels are the main concern in the areas being monitored in Western Visayas in preparation for the barangay (village) elections on Oct. 28, according to the Philippine National Police.
The PNP has included 440 villages in the election watch-list areas (EWAs) in Western Visayas due to the influence, presence or threats from the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army; intense political rivalries, and history of political violence.
The number of villages placed on the list of EWAs is 11 percent of 4,051 villages in the region, according to Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr., Western Visayas police director.
Cruz said that of the 440 EWAs, 431 were being monitored due to the presence or influence of rebels and underground leftist movement.
Nine villages were categorized as areas of concern due to previous election-related violence.
In Iloilo, these are Agdarihan in San Dionisio town; Datagan in Calinog town; Tabuan in Estancia town, and Cabatangan and Lonoy in Lambunao town.
The two villages categorized as areas of concern in Aklan are Mataphao in New Washington town and Aklan and Sigcay in Banga town. The two other villages are Paningayan in Laua-an town in Antique, and Tabuc in Pontevedra town, Capiz.
Of the remaining 431 EWAs, Negros Occidental has the most number with 247 including five in Bacolod City. This is followed by Iloilo with 109 including 22 in Iloilo City, Capiz with 69, Antique with five, and a barangay in Aklan.
The PNP regional police office declined to identify the 431 EWAs pending a final validation process with the Commission on Elections and the Armed Forces of the Philippines this week.
Cruz said among those being monitored were candidates who are being supported or favored by the rebel movement. But he said they could not stop any candidate from running for election or being elected unless there is evidence that he or she has violated laws.
“Barangay elections are traditionally more intense compared to national and local elections. There are more rivalries among personalities and among clans or families,” Cruz said.
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