Security heightened in Region 12 for barangay polls

Candidates for barangay elections in Cotabato City wave their drug test results during an audience with City Mayor Cynthia Sayadi on 24 April 2018. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH B. CABRERA

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 03 May) — Police units in Region 12 have stepped up their security operations in line with the start of the campaign period on Friday for the May 14 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.

Supt. Aldrin Gonzales, public information officer of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-12, said Thursday all their units are on high alert for possible security-related disruptions related to the nine-day campaigning and the upcoming polls.

He said they are closely watching areas in the region that are considered potential hotspots in the run-up to and during the elections.

“We’re ready for the campaign period and all security measures towards the election day of all our units are already in place,” he said in a radio interview.

The Commission on Elections declared on Wednesday a total of 209 barangays in the entire region as election hotspots.

Some 201 barangays were placed under the orange category, seven under yellow and one under red.

Areas under the red category are considered in critical situation while those under orange have confirmed “presence of armed groups and organized movements outside the law.”

Villages under the yellow category were identified based on their “history of political unrest.”

Gonzales said they have laid down the necessary preparations to ensure that the coming polls in the area would be secure, peaceful and orderly.

He cited the deployment of personnel in identified critical areas to avert the possible occurrence of violent incidents.

Citing their assessment as Thursday, he said the entire Region 12 remains generally orderly and peaceful despite the bomb explosion in Koronadal City last Sunday.

“It did not affect the overall security situation in the region,” Gonzales said.

He said all their unit have upgraded their security measures within their areas of responsibility to preempt or counter similar attacks. (MindaNews)