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MANILA, Philippines - Some 900 areas identified as hotspots in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 2010 elections will be the same areas that will be monitored during its general voters registration next week.
Senior Superintendent Alberto Supapo, Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy director for operations in ARMM, said that they will enforce tight security in 532 barangays tagged as "election areas of concern (EAC)," and 368 barangays tagged as "election areas of immediate concern (EAIC)" during the last national elections.
There are a total of 2,490 barangays in the region, which covers the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
The number of barangays considered as election areas of concern (EAC) is broken down as follows:
The barangays considered as election areas of immediate concern (EAIC) is broken down as follows:
Barangays identified as EAIC are areas where there is strong presence of communist insurgents who are involved in election-related violence. Those identified as EAC are areas with intense political rivalry and have partisan armed groups.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will conduct the general registration in ARMM from July 9 to 18, with the aim of cleansing the region's list of voters.
ARMM has gained notoriety for election violence and massive cheating. It is important to ensure clean elections in the region since tight national races, especially the senatorial elections, are usually decided here.
The Comelec earlier promised that more than 10,000 security forces will be deployed in the region.
Supapo said that there will be 10 security personnel assigned to each voters registration machine (VRM) deployed. Some 1,047 VRMs will be deployed in the region.
The VRMs, along with some personnel who will assist in the registration, will be coming from other regions. Comelec has temporarily suspended the ongoing voters registration outside ARMM to deploy equipment and personnel in the region.
Supapo said that the deployment of security forces "would all depend on the Comelec as to where the troops are much needed to secure the registrants and the voters registration machines."
The polling centers used in the October 25, 2010 barangay elections shall be used as centers for the 10-day general registration.
Comelec has implemented a month-long gun ban in the region starting July 1. Checkpoints were also established, especially in identified hotspots, to discourage flying registrants. - Rappler.com
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