232 barangays in E. Visayas tagged as areas of concern

Almost three weeks before the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), 232 villages in Eastern Visayas (Region 8) have been identified as areas of concern, prompting authorities to tighten their watch in these places. Sixty areas -- all located in Calbayog City, Samar, have been identified as red category or areas of grave concern, according to a report from the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office here. Under the areas of immediate concern or orange category are 52 villages in Calbayog City, Gandara, Sta. Margarita, Matuguinao, Calbiga, and Pinabacdao in Samar province; and Bobon, Lavezares, San Isidro, and Victoria towns in Northern Samar. Listed as areas of concern or yellow category are 120 villages in three provinces. These are in Leyte and Villaba towns in Leyte province; Basey, Calbayog City, Catbalogan City, Gandara, Marabut, San Jorge, San Jose de Buan, Sta. Margarita, and Matuguinao in Samar; and Allen and Lope de Vega towns in Northern Samar. Yellow are areas of concern, which means that these have a history of election-related incidents in the last elections; there is possible employment of partisan armed groups; and the occurrence of politically motivated election-related cases that had been previously declared under Commission on Elections (Comelec) control. Orange or areas of immediate concern, are places with serious armed threats; while red or areas of grave concern are those that exhibit combined factors. PNP Region 8 Director Brig. Gen. Vincent Calanoga emphasized the need to establish a communication system with the village, particularly in remote areas, to improve government response on reports of election-related violent incidents. 'All security forces will be utilized in the implementation of the election gun ban. A total of 11,000 PNP personnel will be deployed in the region to ensure the safe and fair conduct of the local elections,' Calanoga said in a statement. Comelec Eastern Visayas Acting Regional Director Felicisimo Embalsado said the Regional Joint Security Control Center will convene on Monday, October 16, to discuss the final deployment plan to include augmentation from the military and police. 'We always remind the candidates to follow the rules and regulations to ensure peaceful and orderly elections this year,' Embalsado said in a phone interview. He lauded the initiatives in some parts of the region where aspirants have been gathered and signed a covenant for peaceful, safe, and orderly elections on Oct. 30, 2023.

Source: Philippines News Agency