MANILA, Philippines – One in every 5 barangays (villages) have been marked as “hot spots” in the lead-up to the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on Monday, May 14.
Out of more than around 42,000 barangays nationwide, 7,915 have been labeled by the government as poll hot spots as of May 6. The number increased by over 200 since the update by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on May 2.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) bared the numbers on Thursday, May 10, during their last press briefing on the nationwide village-level polls.
The PNP said that from a month before the elections, it had recorded 20 election-related violence, which had left 24 dead.
What are hot spots? Election hot spots are areas where residents face risks because of heightened political tension in communities.
The PNP has 5 criteria before classifying a village as a hot spot:
- Having a violent incident in the past election
- Having a violent incident in the present election
- Intense political rivalry
- Comelec control over the barangay
- Presence of private armed groups
According to PNP spokesperson Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, barangays with at least one pointer have been categorized as yellow, those with at least 2 or at least harbor rebels and insurgents are labeled orange, while those carrying all the indicators are marked as red.
The breakdown: PNP and the Comelec only released the totals on Thursday but not the list of barangays where there’s significant threat of election-related violence.
The government instead released a regional breakdown of the numbers.
The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, according to the PNP, has the most number of hot spots. The area has long seen violence during polls, considering heated family rivalries and the presence of private armies and rebels.
At the bottom of the list is the National Capital Region, which on normal days registers one of the highest numbers on crime incidents. – Rappler.com
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