Bacolod: 55 NegOcc brgys tagged as areas of concern


A total of 55 Negros Occidental barangays were recommended by the Provincial Joint Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) to the Commission on Elections, to be classified as election areas of concern, due to sightings of New People’s Army rebels.

Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that their recommendation was already forwarded to the Comelec for appropriate action.

JPSCC is composed of the Philippine Army, National Police, Coast Guard, and the provincial Comelec.

Edralin said the number of election areas of concern was reduced from 101 in the previous barangay and SK elections, to 55 in this year’s BSKE polls.

“We will let the Comelec decide on it,” he added.

Edralin, however, clarified that the 55 barangays have already been cleared through the implementation of Community Support Program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which is used to clear communities of NPA infestation, while neutralizing the politics-military structure established by the rebels in the villages.

Edralin noted attempts of the NPA to recover lost territories.

He stressed the need for the authorities, including the Philippine Army and National Police, as well as the people, to continue their vigilance against rebel infiltration in communities already declared as “cleared.”

According to the Comelec, areas of election concern, or election hotspots, are places where there is potential violence or tension between local candidates, presence of armed rebels, and a history of election related incidents.

Edralin said they expect NPA remnants in Negros to make their presence felt, especially among candidates, as they could impose the “permit to campaign” and/or “permit to win” fees to freely campaign in the hinterlands where they are operating.

“We will not allow it,” Edralin stressed, as he encouraged candidates to coordinate with authorities if they are victimized by such modus operandi of the NPA.

There are 662 barangays in Negros Occidental.

The Comelec reported that in Negros Occidental, a total of 29,640 candidates filed their Certificates of Candidacy for various positions related to the synchronized and barangays and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on October 30.

(Gilbert Bayoran via The Visayan Daily Star (TVDS), photo courtesy of TVDS)


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