Bicol

40 Bicol towns considered areas of concern in upcoming barangay, SK polls

Rhaydz B. Barcia

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40 Bicol towns considered areas of concern in upcoming barangay, SK polls
The police and military are looking into the killings of village officials in Libon, Albay, to recommend whether the town should be placed under Comelec control

ALBAY, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Cemelec) in Bicol identified 40 municipalities across the region as areas of immediate concern in the upcoming barangay and SK Elections (BSKE).

Comelec Bicol Regional Director Jane Valeza told Rappler on Wednesday, August 30, that 10 municipalities are in the red category, meaning they are areas of “grave concern” in terms of potential for violence. 

These are in Masbate (4 towns), Albay (3), Camarines Norte (2), and Camarines Sur (1).

For an area to be placed under the red category, two of these three elements must be present: intense political rivalry, presence of communist terrorist groups, and presence of political armed groups.

Ten municipalities are under the orange category, the second highest level of concern in the poll body’s classification system. Orange means there’s “immediate concern” due to the presence of armed groups. 

They are in Masbate (15 towns), Catanduanes (6), Albay (3), Camarines Norte (3), and Camarines Sur (3).

Localities with a history of political unrest are placed under code yellow, while those without cause of concern are under code green.

Valeza said she had requested the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to look into the recent killings of village officials in Libon, Albay, and recommend whether Libon should be placed under Comelec control.

When a town is placed under Comelec control, a total gun ban, strict implementation of Comelec rules, reshuffle of law enforcement agencies in the municipalities, and possible regulation of local government operation. – Rappler.com

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