The Provincial Joint Security Control Center was convened yesterday to keep Negros Occidental peaceful, amid expected intense political rivalry leading up to the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls, Provincial Election Officer Jessie Suarez said.
The PJSCC led by top Commission on Elections, Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines officials in Negros Occidental will focus on areas of concern, especially in hinterland barangays, Suarez said.
There will be 662 barangays to watch throughout Negros Occidental, including the 61 in Bacolod City, he said.
Negros Occidental has 1,768,087 barangay election voters and 612,063 Sangguniang Kabataan voters for a total of 2,380,150, Suarez said.
Suarez said joint security control centers will also be convened in towns and cities of Negros Occidental today and tomorrow, who will be tasked with submitting their lists of areas of concern that will be subject to validation.
There are usually more areas of concern during the barangay and SK elections, especially in the hinterlands, than during the local and national polls, Suarez said.
Barangay elections are more hotly contested because barangays are smaller areas and opposing candidates are relatives, friends and neighbors, he said.
Because people running for office in barangays know each other well, hurting words hurled during the campaign usually draw more violent reactions, Suarez said.
“I am appealing to the barangay and SK bets to refrain from mudslinging and the use of gutter language, and to instead maintain high level campaigns,” Suarez added.
“Refrain from violence,” he said, as he reminded politicians that they should not get involved in the barangay polls that are supposed to be non-partisan.
Candidates for SK posts must be 18 to 24 years old, and those who can vote for them have to be 15 to 30 years old, Suarez said.
Those who can vote for barangay officials must be 18 years old and above, he added.
Under the Anti-Dynasty Law, barangay and SK candidates cannot be related to incumbent officials who are first and second degree relatives, Suarez said.
That means candidates who have grandparents, parents, and siblings by blood or affinity who are incumbent officials, cannot run for office, Suarez added.
The election period, that will include a gunban, will be from April 14 to May 21, while the period for the filing of certificates of candidacy will be from April 14 to 20
The campaign period will be from May 4 to 12, and election day voting will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 14.*CPG
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