DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 March) – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 has placed 16 municipalities in the Davao Region under a watchlist nearly a month before the May 9 local and national elections amid intense political rivalry and presence of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Maj. Eudisan Gultiano, spokesperson for PRO-Davao, said during an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Thursday that police authorities have beefed up police presence in these areas to deter any election-related incidents.
Of the total, eight were placed under the “yellow” category classified due to the intense political rivalry in previous elections. These areas Sta. Cruz, Matanao, Magsaysay, Malalag, Hagonoy, and Padada in Davao del Sur; New Corella in Davao del Norte; and Monkayo in Davao de Oro.
Meanwhile, these municipalities have been placed under “orange” category due to the presence of NPA: Mabini, Maco, Maragusan, Montevista, New Bataan, and Pantukan in Davao de Oro; Lupon, Davao Oriental; and Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.
Gultiano said the start of the local campaign period in the region last March 25 was peaceful as authorities received no election-related incidents, except for “political statements” between parties that authorities do not consider as “harassments.”
“In Davao Region, the start of the local campaign period was very peaceful. We have no reported untoward incident. So far, the local candidates are compliant with the procedures and other rules and policies while conducting their campaign rally,” said Gultiano, who is also a lawyer.
She said no area in the region was placed in the highest “red” category where both history of intense political rivalries and sightings of NPAs are present.
Gultiano said authorities are constantly assessing the local governments on election-related incidents.
She said authorities will beef up its operations to secure the areas days before the election.
“Our deployment has been set. So far, the situation has been well-handled by our commanders. Once there’s a request for augmentation and deployment, they will be prioritized for deployment,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)