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PNP identifies 700 election hotspots

18 February 2019

PNP national headquarters.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified a total of 701 cities and municipalities across the country as election hotspots for the May 13 mid-term polls.

PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said in a news briefing that the number of election hotspots had increased based on the latest validated information. The 701 poll hotspots make up 42.9 percent of the 1,634 cities and towns nationwide.

Albayalde said the election hotspots are categorized and color-coded based on a set of parameters.

A total of 223 cities and municipalities are in the yellow category or areas of concern.

Cities and towns under the yellow category had a history of election-related incidents in the last two elections and intense political rivalry, and had been previously declared under Commission on Elections (Comelec) control.

Falling under the orange category or election areas of immediate concern are 382 cities and municipalities.

The orange category includes cities and municipalities where there is a serious armed threat posed by terror and rebel groups like the New People’s Army, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front or Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

A total of 94 cities and municipalities are under the red category or election areas of grave concern.

Under the red category are cities and towns where combined factors of yellow and orange categories are present and there is chance for the area to have the motu proprio declaration of Comelec control.

Two towns are currently under Comelec control for this year’s elections: Cotabato City in Cotabato and Daraga in Albay.

Daraga was listed under Comelec control after the assassination of AKO Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe allegedly by the town’s mayor, Carlwyn Baldo. The two were supposed to fight each other for the position of Daraga mayor.

The Comelec put Cotabato City under its control ahead of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) referendum.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao had the most number of election hotspots with 98, followed by Bicol with 72 and the Ilocos Region with 64.

Five Metro Manila cities are listed under the yellow category: Mandaluyong, Manila, Caloocan, Malabon and Pasay.

The campaign season for Senate and party-list candidates officially kickstarted on February 12 and the PNP assured the public that they have deployed enough men to monitor and secure peace and order in campaign areas.

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