COM­ELEC TO MON­I­TOR LGUS IN ‘YEL­LOW CODE’ CAT­E­GORY

The cities of Cebu, Man­daue, Lapu-Lapu, Danao and the towns of Ronda, San Fer­nando fall un­der this cat­e­gory Poll of­fi­cial says they will im­ple­ment check­points when elec­tion pe­riod starts on Jan. 13 to pre­vent spread of loose firearms His­tory of in­tense po

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The Com­mis­sion on Elec­tions (Com­elec) will closely watch the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Cebu City af­ter it was de­clared one of the 29 towns and cities in Cen­tral Visayas un­der the elec­tion watch­list ar­eas (Ewas).

Com­elec-Cebu City North Dis­trict Elec­tion Of­fi­cer Marchel Sarno said the city was placed in the cat­e­gory of in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry, or yel­low code, re­fer­ring to Mayor To­mas Osmeña and Vice May- or Edgardo La­bella, who are run­ning for mayor, and for­mer mayor Michael Rama and City Coun­cilor Mary Ann de los San­tos, who are run­ning for vice mayor.

Sarno said Com­elec check­points will be im­ple­mented when the elec­tion pe­riod starts on Jan. 13, to pre­vent the pro­lif­er­a­tion of loose firearms and to ap­pre­hend violators of elec­tion laws.

The cities of Man­daue, La­puLapu, and Danao and the towns of Ronda and San Fer­nando were also placed un­der the yel­low code.

The town of Tubu­ran was in­cluded in the orange code, which means there was in­tense po­lit­i­cal ri­valry, pres­ence of armed groups and elec­tion-re­lated vi­o­lence.

Pro­vin­cial Elec­tion Su­per­vi­sor Lionel Marco Castil­lano said elec­tion of­fi­cers in towns and cities should not solely rely on the po­lice to mon­i­tor the peace and or­der sit­u­a­tion in the lead-up to next year’s elec­tions.

“They should mon­i­tor. They are sub­mit­ting to me their monthly se­cu­rity re­port,” he said.

Last Dec. 6, the Re­gional Joint Se­cu­rity Con­trol Cen­ter re­leased the ini­tial list of Ewas in Cen­tral Visayas.

Castil­lano said the Ewas dec­la­ra­tion is the ba­sis for the cre­ation of the se­cu­rity plan.

Mean­while, the Com­elec will re­lease its fi­nal list of candi- dates on its web­site next week, in­clud­ing the names of sub­sti­tute can­di­dates.

Man­daue City Mayor Luigi Quisumb­ing, for his part, wel­comed the city’s in­clu­sion in the Ewas.

He said he hopes the dec­la­ra­tion will pre­vent “nar­copoliti­cians” from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the cam­paign.

“Given the events of the pre­vi­ous months and the rev­e­la­tions in the City Coun­cil about the pres­ence of or­ga­nized groups and drug syn­di­cates, as well as politi­cians al­legedly pro­tect­ing them, I wel­come Man­daue’s in­clu­sion. Hope­fully, this will dis­cour­age these groups and nar­copoliti­cians from at­tempt­ing to sub­vert the will of the peo­ple,” he said.

Man­daue City Po­lice Of­fice Di­rec­tor Ju­lian En­toma said the Ewas dec­la­ra­tion works in fa­vor of the po­lice, as they can eas­ily tap the mil­i­tary for help.

He ad­mit­ted there are still drug syn­di­cates in the city, in­clud­ing the un­der­lings of slain “drug lord” Steve Go. /

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