A total of 93 barangays in Caraga region have been identified as “hot spots” or “areas of concern” for the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
The “areas of concern” came out following last week’s joint evaluation conducted by the Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) and the Army’s 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID).
The list has been forwarded to Caraga election director Atty. Francisco Pobe,who will decide on whether or not to include these barangays in its election watch-list or turn these villages into Comelec-controlled areas.
The barangays placed “hot spots” or “areas of concern” in Caraga are classified “Category 2” either because of intense political rivalries and threats posed by armed rebel group like the Communist New People’s Army .
4ID spokesperson 1st Lt. Tere Ingente said with the ground troops conducting continuous barangay clearing operations, unit commanders are expecting the number of barangays in the list to decline.
Ingente said Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the 4th ID assured that the full force of the Army’s 401st and 402nd Brigades would help the police in carrying out security operations and other measures.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has tasked the Philippine National Police to intensify checkpoint operations, strictly enforce the election gun ban and enhance visibility in areas identified as election hotspots to ensure peaceful and orderly polls.
Caraga region has 1, 311 barangays, in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur and Dinagat Islands, and the cities of Surigao, Tandag, Bislig, Bayugan, Cabadbaran and the region’s frontier and capital city of Butuan.
There are 1, 619, 179 total registered voters in the five provinces and six cities in Caraga region, while there are 658, 852 current SK voters throughout the region. By CLC