KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/ 08 March) – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has placed seven of the 29 villages in Tulunan, North Cotabato as poll hotspot areas allegedly due to the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a police official said Friday.
Chief Insp. Ronnie Cordero, Tulunan police chief, identified the Comelec “areas of concern” in the locality as Barangays Nabundasan, Tuburan, Banayal, Bacung, Bituan, Batang, and Baynosa.
Cordero said that Barangays Banayal, Batang, Bacung, Tuburan and Nabundasan are believed infested by the NPA and the rest influenced by the MILF.
He said that additional government forces would be deployed in these areas during the May 13, 2013 elections to ensure the safety of voters.
Several clashes between the 57th Infantry Battalion and rebel forces have erupted in these areas since 2010.
Tulunan is a second-class municipality in North Cotabato with a population of 54,884 and 26,438 registered voters as of the 2010 census. It is geographically located at the southern most tip of the province and bounded by the Ligawasan Marsh in the west
In a related development, Comelec workers and volunteers in this city started cross –checking the voters’ list in preparation for the May 13 elections.
City election registrar Diosdado Javier said they recently received the “cleansed” voters’ list from the Comelec central office.
The city has 72,378 registered voters for this year’s polls, up 5.1 percent from the 2010 elections.
At least 1,000 double registrants were taken off the list, records showed.
“We’re doubling our efforts to prepare this list so that everything would be okay comes May (13), 2013,” he said. (Malu Cadelina-Manar/MindaNews)