Cen­tral Visayas has 29 poll hotspots

Manila Bulletin - - Visayas News - By CALVIN CORDOVA

CEBU CITY–Twenty-nine ar­eas in Cen­tral Visayas were iden­ti­fied as elec­tion watch­list ar­eas (EWAs), po­ten­tial trou­ble spots dur­ing the elec­tions next year.

Au­thor­i­ties em­ployed a col­or­cod­ing sys­tem in iden­ti­fy­ing elec­tion hotspots or watch­list ar­eas.

Red is for ar­eas known for hav­ing armed groups and a his­tory of vi­o­lence dur­ing past elec­tions.

Orange is for ar­eas where there are armed groups, while yel­low is for ar­eas where there is in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry.

The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of EWAS was made dur­ing a co­or­di­na­tion meet­ing last Thurs­day at the Cen­tral Visayas po­lice head­quar­ters at­tended by of­fi­cials of the Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec), mil­i­tary and po­lice.

The cities of Cebu, Man­daue, Lapu-Lapu, and Danao and the towns of Ronda and San Fer­nando were tagged as yel­low.

An­other town in Cebu, Tubu­ran, was tagged as orange.

In Ne­gros Ori­en­tal, the orange ar­eas were Gui­hul­ngan City, Bais City, Si­a­ton City, Ayun­gon, Can­laon City, Mabi­nay, Tayasan, Sta. Catalina, Zam­boan­guita, and Man­juyod.

Yel­low ar­eas in Bo­hol were the towns of Bue­nav­ista, Clarin, Danao, and Pi­lar.

Two other towns in Bo­hol, Tu­bigon and In­a­banga, were clas­si­fied as orange.

Con­sid­ered as yel­low in Siqui­jor are the towns of En­rique Vil­lanueva, Larena, Lazi, Maria, San Juan, and Siqui­jor.

Chief Supt. De­bold Si­nas, re­gional po­lice chief, said ad­di­tional po­lice and mil­i­tary per­son­nel will be de­ployed in ar­eas con­sid­ered as hotspots.

The de­ploy­ment was also dis­cussed in the 4th Quar­ter Re­gional Joint Peace and Se­cu­rity Co­or­di­nat­ing Cen­ter Meet­ing held Thurs­day.

Si­nas said the meet­ing was also in re­sponse to the Mem­o­ran­dum Or­der No. 32 is­sued by Pres­i­dent Duterte “re­in­forc­ing the guide­lines for the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines and the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of mea­sures to sup­press and pre­vent law­less vi­o­lence.”

“As part of MO 32, we will be de­ploy­ing ad­di­tional troops in Ne­gros Ori­en­tal and other ar­eas where there is in­sur­gency. The num­ber of ad­di­tional troops that will be de­ployed will de­pend on the out­come of the meet­ing,” said Si­nas.

The meet­ing also aims to es­tab­lish bet­ter co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the po­lice and the mil­i­tary “to pre­vent mis­en­coun­ters,” he said.

Col. Noel Baluyan, com­man­der of the Cen­tral Com­mand Task Force Cebu, ad­vised the pub­lic not to be alarmed by the in­creased po­lice and mil­i­tary pres­ence.

“It has noth­ing to do with mil­i­ta­riza­tion. This is just to de­ter crimes, part of our goal to ad­dress in­sur­gency,” said Baluyan.

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