The Regional Joint Security Control Center (RJSCC) is closely monitoring 36 local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas that are considered hotspots in varying degrees.
The RJSCC report said that of the 36 LGUs it is closely watching, nine are under the yellow category, 23 categorized as orange, and four under the red category.
Municipalities that fall under the yellow category are those that have a history of election-related violence, orange are those with sightings of armed and rebel groups, and red refers to critical areas, which means that, aside from election-related violence, there are also armed and rebel groups within the municipality.
Supt. Joem Malong, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), said the old system of labeling and identifying election hotspots was confusing thus, the change.
Acting Provincial Elections Supervisor Salud Milagros Villanueva said she did not know yet if any of the 36 LGUs are in Negros Occidental.
“I don’t have the list as of now, but I am sure everything is still being assessed and validated,” she told the DAILY STAR.
“All LGUs are on tight watch to make sure that we will achieve peaceful and credible elections,” Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police regional director, said.
Before, the Commission on Elections and Philippine National Police used “areas of concern” and “immediate areas of concern”, or categories one, two, three, and four in identifying the degree of election-related violence linked to a particular municipality.
“But the description of each degree didn't change. It's the same, only (that) we are now using colors for identification”, Malong said.
The list that was presented during the launch of the RJSCC, is still subject to validation of the Comelec that chairs the center.
Municipalities classified under the green and yellow categories are under the surveillance and concern of the PNP.
Those tagged in the orange and red categories are under the concern of the joint forces of PNP and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
The remaining 101 LGUs in the region fall in the green category, which means there is no cause for concern in these areas.
Malong further said Miag-ao in Iloilo might be included on the list of the yellow, orange and red coded areas, but they are still monitoring some barangays in the municipality to categorize it properly.
“Last May 2018 barangay elections, it was a week before election (day) that the Comelec released the list of the validated election hotspots and our list might change,” he said.*PNA
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