14 Cebu towns in poll ‘hot’ list

CEBU CITY -- Fourteen towns and cities in Cebu Province were eyed as possible “election watch list areas” where violence could erupt during the 2013 midterm polls.

As the police and election officials outlined their security plans on Friday, Superintendent Paul Labra II identified these areas as Sogod, Barili, San Fernando, Daanbantayan, Tuburan, Ronda, Pinamungajan, Tabogon, Dumanjug, Sta. Fe, Lapu-Lapu City, Bogo City, Danao City and Carcar City.

Labra is the chief of the Regional Intelligence Division of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Central Visayas.

A history of election-related violence, intense partisan rivalry and presence of organized crime groups were among the reasons these areas were listed.

In Central Visayas, 19 more towns and cities are being evaluated as possible “election areas of concern” and the police said they also continue to monitor insurgent movements in Negros Oriental.

Meanwhile, 10 potential private armed groups with close to 100 members operating in Central Visayas are being monitored by the police.

In Cebu Province, these robbery groups were identified as the Sumabong-Ancero Group, Omboy-Sanopao Group, Sigue Group and Sidlak Group.

PRO-Central Visayas Director Marcelo Garbo Jr. said the groups were reportedly used before by some politicians and could disrupt electoral proceedings or create tension.

“Right now, we have not listed any private armed group because they are inactive, have been neutralized or arrested,” he said.

Garbo revealed they have the names of the groups’ supporters and held a dialogue with them late last year.

“I have talked with opposing parties and told them to play within the rules of the game. No guns and goons,” he said.

Watched

In Negros Province, the areas being closely watched are Bayawan City, Canlaon City, Tanjay City, Jimalalud, Bacong, Basay, La Libertad, Zamboanguita, Villahermoso, Guihulngan City, Bindoy, Pamplona, Sibulan, Valencia and Siaton.

The towns of Trinidad, Carmen, and Tagbilarn in Bohol and Larena in Siquijor also made it to the watch-list.

Once the election period begins on January 13, police officers who have been detailed as escorts to elected government officials will be pulled out, said Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Central Visayas Director Temie Lambino.

Lambino said, however, that any candidates running for local executive positions can avail themselves of private protective agents accredited by the Philippine National Police (PNP), depending on a threat assessment.

“They must apply before January 13 to be given temporary security detail,” he said.

A maximum of two private personnel will be afforded to a candidate and they can use only a 12-gauge shotgun and 9mm pistol.

Gun ban

A gun ban will also be enforced during the election period starting on January 13 as provided under Resolution 9561-A of Comelec.

“No person shall bear, carry or transport firearms or other deadly weapons outside his residence or place of business, and in public places except for members of PNP, AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), and agents performing security functions,” Lambino added.

Police officers will also be relieved and assigned to other units if any member of their family or relatives is running for office in the area where they are assigned.

The revamp is expected to be implemented in Central Visayas to dispel doubts on the partiality of commanders.

In preparation for the elections, police are now intensifying their campaign against loose weapons.

Chief Superintendent Raul Petrasanta, head of the PNP Firearms and Explosives Office (FEO), said the campaign will help ensure honest and peaceful elections.

As of October 2012, there were 562,000 unrenewed gun licenses in the country.

Vote-rich

As of Friday, there were 4,114,061 registered voters in Central Visayas, which is an increase of three percent compared to the previous election.

Lambino said Cebu continues to be the top vote-rich province, with 2,509,520 voters recorded.

“Our projection is it should have been a five percent increase every three years but these could be affected because of the cleansing we have implemented,” he said.

Lambino said some voters were deactivated for failing to vote before or for transferring their residences.

Asked for comments on the security plan, he assured the people have nothing to worry especially after the successful first automated elections in 2010.

“What we need to watch are outside circumstances where cheating is highly possible,” Lambino said. (DSM/Sun.Star Cebu)

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’
    ‘Inland areas could be exposed to tsunami-like waves’

    While strong earthquakes cause tsunamis in coastal areas, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) warned that inland areas could also be exposed to tsunami-like waves, or seiche, if located near or around bodies of water. In a recent earthquake awareness seminar in Muntinlupa, Phivolcs supervising science research specialist Joan Salcedo explained that a seiche is a large wave similar to a tsunami, triggered by strong ground shaking from an earthquake or volcanic …

  • China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations
    China gives ‘gentle reminder’ to Phl, warns small nations

    China gave the Philippines a “gentle reminder” last Tuesday that Beijing will not bully small countries but warned these nations not to make trouble willfully and endlessly. “Here is a gentle reminder to the Philippines: China will not bully small countries, meanwhile, small countries shall not make trouble willfully and endlessly. The Chinese Foreign Ministry also said that China would continue to build other civilian facilities on relevant maritime features in the disputed Spratly Islands …

  • Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute
    Back-channel diplomacy pushed for Phl-China dispute

    The Philippines should consider backchannel diplomacy to prevent its territorial dispute with China from deteriorating further, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said yesterday. There are a lot of Filipino businessmen with businesses in China and they have friends and connections there. Let’s utilize that, ask them to talk to their friends on how we can resolve this matter peacefully,” Marcos said. …

  • Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims
    Phl, Japan to deepen ties amid China sea claims

    Japan and the Philippines are set to bolster security ties when President Benigno Aquino visits Tokyo next week, the latest move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to beef up cooperation with Southeast Asian nations facing China’s growing naval ambitions. The two sides will likely agree to start talks on a framework for the transfer of defense equipment and technology and to discuss a possible pact on the status of Japanese military personnel visiting the Philippines to facilitate joint training and …

  • Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle
    Phl, Vietnam troops play soccer on disputed isle

    Vietnamese and Philippine troops played soccer and sang karaoke on a South China Sea island yesterday in a sign of the growing security ties between the two Southeast Asian nations most at odds with Beijing over the contested waterway. Cooperation has blossomed between Hanoi and Manila since they shelved decades of enmity over their competing claims in the Spratly archipelago to try to counter China, whose creation of artificial islands in the region will allow it to project power deep into …

  • Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers
    Noy swears in 50 newly appointed AFP officers

    President Aquino administered yesterday the oath taking of 50 newly appointed generals and officers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in a simple ceremony at the Rizal Hall of Malacañang Palace. …

  • Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed
    Taiwan’s peace call on claimants of disputed territories welcomed

    The US on Tuesday welcomed Taiwan’s call on all claimants to disputed shoals, reefs, rocks and islets in the South China Sea and West Philippine Sea to exercise restraint, refrain from unilateral actions that could escalate tensions, as well as to respect international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “With regard to the maritime claims and the claims to sovereignty over land features in the South China Sea, our position is that maritime claims must …

  • Metro-wide quake drill set on July 30
    Metro-wide quake drill set on July 30

    A metro-wide earthquake drill will be held on July 30 as part of the government’s preparations for a possible 7.2 magnitude tremor, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said yesterday. All private and government offices as well as businesses, including shopping malls would be closed between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options