By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday declared the entire Mindanao and three other areas as poll hotspots for the forthcoming May 13, 2019 midterm elections.
Also placed under the “Category Red Election Hotspot” are the entire province of Abra; Jones, Isabela; and Lope de Vega, Northern Samar.
“This developed in the wake of suspected election-related incidents in the last two elections, together with serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and/or Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other analogous groups,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a statement.
Jimenez said that areas under the Category Red Election Hotspot classification may warrant the motu proprio declaration of Comelec Control over these places.
“The Comelec En Banc may also direct the augmentation of personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the need arises in the mentioned areas,” Jimenez added.
The Comelec, the PNP, and the AFP identify and classify election hotspots using the following system of classification:
- Category Green –areas with no security concern and are relatively peaceful and orderly.
- Category Yellow – areas with a history of election-related violence or the existence of intense partisan political rivalry, but without the participation of domestic terror groups.
- Category Orange – areas where, in addition to conditions that would qualify an area as Category Yellow, there are likewise serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups and other analogous armed groups.
Category Red – areas where, while being under Category Orange, the relevant government agencies declare the existence of conditions which may constitute grounds for the declaration of Comelec control.