9 election hotspots in NegOr up for validation

The province of Negros Oriental has identified nine election “hotspots” or areas of concern leading to the May 9, 2022 national and local polls.

Lawyer Eddie Aba, Provincial Election Supervisor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), told the Philippine News Agency in an interview that the military and the police submitted the potential hotspots based on parameters used for the classification of areas of concern.

“The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are the ones in a position to identify, determine, validate, and confirm whether these areas should be tagged as election hotspots and thus, need additional security and other measures to ensure safe, peaceful, and orderly conduct of the elections,” Aba said in mixed English and Cebuano.

The hotspots were among the security concerns tackled during the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC) meeting on Saturday afternoon at the Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office in Agan-an, Sibulan.

Acting provincial police director Col. Germano Mallari, in another interview, said the initial list is made up of towns and cities that belong to the so-called red classification.

“We are using the color coding of green, yellow, orange, and red for election areas of concern that was used in the 2019 elections. Red is the highest classification, with all of the parameters present, such as intense political rivalry and the presence of threat groups like the New People’s Army,” Mallari said.

Mallari refused to identify the nine election hotspots yet as they are still up for validation and “the situation might change from time to time”.

Aba, in his closing statement to the attendees of the PJSCC meeting, called for vigilance.

He said while there is still no imminent threat to Negros Oriental, “it is public knowledge that there are positions that are hotly contested”.

The PJSCC convened hours before the official start of the election period at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, also the beginning of the gun ban.

Army officials headed by Brig. Gen. Leonardo Peña, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, police chiefs and other unit commanders, election officers from different towns and cities, and the Diocesan Electoral Board, the citizens arm of the Comelec, represented by its convenor, Msgr. Julius Heruela, attended the meeting.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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