AFP, PNP recommend 452 villages in NoCot as “hot spots”

North Cotabato Provincial Election Officer, Atty. Lilian Suan-Radam, said this was the recommendation of the officials of the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade and Provincial Police Director, Sr. Supt. Federico Dulay, during the command conference here Thursday.

The Army and the PNP proposed to Radam to place in the hot spots list 200 barangays in the first district and 252 in the second district.

The province is composed of 537 barangays, spread in 16 towns and one component city.

Dulay told the command conference that “various armed groups were spotted in these areas in the previous months and could be a threat not only to the constituents but to the candidates especially during the campaign period”. Dulay did not disclose the identity of the armed groups reportedly spotted in these areas.

Radam assured them that he would bring their proposal to the Comelec main office saying her office was not empowered to declare hot spots in the province without the approval of their main office.

“We will refer this matter to chairman Benjamin Abalos for immediate action. We cannot act on it without the approval of our main office in Manila,” Radam said.

Earlier, Gov. Emmanuel Piñol warned politicians and candidates not to pay campaign fee to the New Peoples Army (NPA) when campaigning in guerrilla territories saying that any candidate “that pays campaign fees to the enemy of the state only shows cowardice does they are not deserve the peoples vote”.

“If you know those candidates and politicians do not vote for them. They are not the real leaders that could defend and bring development to their constituents if they were afraid to the NPA,” Piñol said.