Davao barangays with NPA listed as election “hotspots”

The reason — members of the New Peoples Army have been sighted in those areas in the last six months, according to Chief Supt. Jaime Morente, Davao's new police director.

Morente told reporters the rebels' presence in the barangays has been used as a basis for the list.

But he said they will not release the list of barangays so as not to alarm the public and preempt their operations.

Morente described the areas in the list as "mostly remote barangays."

The list, he said, was prepared for security purposes, the list of "election areas of concern" being a management tool for them in the deployment of troops and in the conduct of security measures in the period prior, during, and after elections.

Election hot spots are identified based on present and past election related violence and also the presence of the NPA, he said.

Morente said it is related to the need to secure the place so that election paraphernalia, like ballot boxes, could be moved safely. He also cited the threat of the NPA to collect campaign fees from the candidates.

He said, however, that the list might change depending on development during the election period.

In 2004, the PNP identified the NPA and private armies, or armed supporters of politicians, as major causes of political violence in the country, where elections are often marred by the assassination of candidates and their followers, voter intimidation, ballot snatching and other forms of coercion.

The Communist Party of the Philippines, however, dismissed allegations that the NPA was involved in campaign violence, saying those were rehashed accusations. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)