The military and police yesterday increased the number of “areas of concern” during the barangay elections in Negros Occidental Monday to 127 barangays.
Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said at a Commission on Elections-Philippine National Police-Armed Forces of the Philippines provincial coordinating conference at the Capitol in Bacolod City that seven more barangays were added to the list because of recent incidents of violence in most of these areas.
Among the seven areas added to the list were Brgy. Linaon, Cauayan, where barangay kagawad candidate Alfred Lucero was killed, and Brgy. Dian-ay, Escalante City, where the house of Kagawad Noel Sabordo was strafed, recently.
Also added to the list were barangays Amontay and Santol, Binalbagan, Aying said.
Of the 127 barangays, 33 are categorized as barangays of “immediate concern” and 85 of “lesser concern”, Aying said.
The most number of barangays of immediate concern are in Escalante City at 14, because of the presence of the Communist Party of Philippines-New People’s Army men, he explained.
Aying said the Army will focus its poll peace-keeping efforts especially in barangays of immediate concern.
The Army and police are fielding 4,500 men in Negros Occidental to keep the peace during the polls Monday, he added.
Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz, regional police director of Western Visayas, yesterday said there are 449 barangays in Region 6 that are areas of concern.
Provincial Elections Supervisor Jessie Suarez said that the coordinating conference yesterday discussed their security deployment plan at voting centers, and Comelec updates.
Suarez reminded voters to write the names of the people they are voting for legibly on the ballots so the teachers can read them correctly.
There are 1.6 million registered voters in Negros Occidental, he said.*CPG