By Aaron Recuenco
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is bracing for the increase of areas under its hotspot list once the campaign period for local candidates starts next month.
But PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Bernard Banac said the public has nothing to worry since the fact that they were able to identify the areas where election-related conflict might happen is a proof that they are active in monitoring the security situation in every town and city of the country.
“There is nothing to worry. This (hotspot list) serves as a guide of our security forces on where they would focus on,” said Banac.
On Tuesday, the PNP leadership bared that the number of cities and municipalities under hotspot list ballooned to 701, which represents 42.9 percent of the total number of municipalities and cities of the Philippines.
The reason behind the spike is the parameters given by the Commission on Elections.
But the hotspot list is categorized in three: areas under concern which are labeled yellow areas, areas under immediate concern under orange category, and areas under serious concern tagged as red zones.
From just 19 Red areas for instance, the number rose to 94 as of Tuesday.
“But these are not permanent. Maybe next week it would decrease or maybe it would increase. That is why we are conducting weekly assessment on this,” said Banac.
Should it increase, the reason could be the start of the local campaign for candidates from the House of Representatives to city and town councilors. Based on past data, election period for local candidates are usually bloodier.
This is the reason, Banac said, the PNP leadership has been very aggressive in monitoring the security situation in all parts of the country. This, he said, is coupled with an in-depth study of past election-related violent incidents.
He said among the measures are the intensified intelligence-monitoring and police visibility.
“Our commanders were given a directive to strictly implement all election laws. As we can see, all our policemen our outside to ensure security and public safety,” said Banac.
Aside from the PNP, the military will also be tapped in areas where presence of big armed groups are monitored like the eastern part of Mindanao with high communist rebels presence and the central and western part of Mindanao where extremists are known to operate. #MatalinongBoto2019