May 2022 poll hotspots far fewer than 2019 election- DILG exec

Compared to the 2019 election, there is a significant decrease in areas declared as hotspot for the May 2022 polls, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said Monday, April 11.

“Well ang unang magandang balita dito ay mas mababa ngayong eleksyong ito, ang mga election hotspots kasi kung maalala natin nung 2019 (election) 946 (hotspots) lahat yan and 546 ang red areas of concern. So ngayon naman po ang tinitingnan nating red areas ay 125, 110 towns and 15 cities (Well the good news the election hotspots are much lower in this election since if you will remember in 2019, there are 946 all of them and 546 are red areas of concern. So what we are looking at right now are the red areas in 125 places, 110 towns and 15 cities),’’ Malaya said in a news briefing.

Overall, Malaya said there are only around 300 red, orange and yellow areas of election of concern compared to the 946 in the previous elections.

“So this is really and improvement in the peace and order situation in the country,’’ he added.

Under the new system implemented by the Commission on Election (Comelec), red is the highest alert level election concern area, orange is the area of immediate concern, yellow is the area of concern and green is the area with no security concern.

Malaya noted that DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued a directive to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ‘suppress all election-related violence’ especially in the red areas of concern.

‘So the directive of Sec. Año is for focused deployment and operations by the PNP in those areas (areas of concern),’’ he added.

On the part of the local government units (LGUs), Malaya explained Año’s directive imposes zero tolerance for any form of election violence specifically the use of private armies to harass and intimidate the voters.

In the event the DILG receives reports of the mobilization of private armed groups, Malaya said that additional police will immediately be deployed in the said area and charges await any elected politicians involved in the violent and intimidation acts.

Malaya noted that more or less 16,820 PNP officers are assigned to election-related duties nationwide with 2,584 police officers in the National Capital Region (NCR) undergoing training to prepare them to fulfill their poll tasks.

“So marami po tayong mga kapulisan na madedeploy so sinisiguro ng DILG at ng PNP ang kaayusan at kapayapaan sa parating na election (So there are a lot of police officers deployed (for election-related durites) and the DILG and the PNP ensure the peace and order in the coming election),’’ Malaya noted.

In the same briefing, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Maj. Gen. Felipe Natividad confirmed that Quezon City and Caloocan City are included in the list of areas of election concern but assured that his men ‘are on top of everything.’

“Dati pong green ang ating Caloocan (City), ngayon po ay naging orange na po yung kanyang status (Previously the Caloocan is under the green level but now it is under the orange status),’’ Natividad said. (Chito A. Chavez)