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
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. /