visayas.politics.com.ph

Northern Samar has most election hotspots in Eastern Visayas’ barangay elections

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified 284 villages in the Eastern Visayas region as election hotspots, citing intense political rivalries, threats of armed rebels, and violence committed by criminal groups.

PNP-8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz said in a press briefing Friday night that they identified these areas in consultation with other security agencies, and also based on the parameters set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Northern Samar has the most number of areas on the watch list with 114, followed by Samar (82), Eastern Samar (60), and Leyte (28).

These villages are in the towns of Bato, Carigara, Tabango, Alangalang, Albuera, Burauen, Hilongos, Inopacan, La Paz, Leyte, Macarthur in Leyte province; Basey, Calbayog City, Calbiga, Daram, Hinabangan, Jiabong, Marabut, Matuguinao, Motiong, Paranas, San Jose de Buan, Sta. Margarita, and Talalora in Samar; Can-avid, Dolores, Hernani, Jipapad, Llorente, Maslog, Arteche, Balangkayan, Balangiga, General Macarthur, Giporlos, Maydolong, San Policarpo, Sulat, and Taft in Eastern Samar; Catarman, Catubig, Laoang, Lapinig, Las Navas, Lope de Vega, Mapanas, Pambujan, Palapag, Rosario, San Jose, San Isidro, and Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar.

“With only a few days left before the polls, the PNP is fine-tuning measures to ensure the safety and security of the elections. Rest assured that we will be extending our best efforts in order to uphold the integrity of Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections,” Cruz told reporters.

“These areas will be closely monitored. We also appeal to the public to be vigilant at all times to prevent unscrupulous individuals and other lawless elements from taking advantage of the election period,” he said.

Of the total, 185 are classified as areas of immediate concern and 99 are categorized as areas of concern, said Cruz.

The number is 6.5 percent of the 4,390 villages in the region’s six provinces.

Based on Comelec Resolution No. 10077, a village is labeled an area of concern if it has a history of violent political rivalries. A community is tagged as an area of immediate concern if there are serious threats posed by the New People’s Army, private armed groups, and terrorists. (PNA)