PNP tags 448 towns, 58 cities as initial election hotspots

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE chief Gen. Dionardo Carlos on election hot spots

CAMP CRAME, Quezon City – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified 488 towns and 58 cities as potential hotspots for May 9, 2022 national and local elections.
The PNP was earlier tasked by the Department of the Interior and Local Government to identify election hotspots to ensure an orderly and peaceful polls.
In a press briefing, PNP Acting Director for Intelligence Police Brigadier General Michael John Dubria said that of the number, the PNP only focuses on areas under the red category.
The election hotspot list has four categories — Green, Yellow, Orange, and Red.
He said only 3 percent out of the country’s 1,438 towns and about 5 percent of 146 cities are under the red category.
 “So those are the figures translated into just 39 towns and seven cities. Those are the critical areas that we are focusing on,” he added.
Among those under the red category include areas from the Cagayan Valley (Region 2), Central Luzon (Region 3), Bicol Region (Region 5), Western Visayas (Region 6), and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“The good thing about this is under the red category, we have only 3% out of the total 1,438 number of towns in the country and we also have 5% of 146 cities in the country. So, ‘yun lang ‘yung figure natin translated into just 39 towns and seven cities na pinaka-typical natin na binabantayan,” he said.

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), areas under the Category Red are those where “relevant government agencies declare the existence of conditions which may constitute grounds for the declaration of Comelec Control.”

Those under the Category Green are areas with “no security concern and are relatively peaceful and orderly,” while Category Yellow refers to those 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 are areas where there are likewise “serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups and other analogous armed groups.”

Dubria said that there are areas under the Category Red which come from various regions, but most are from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

PNP chief Police General Dionardo Carlos clarified that this is just PNP data and will still be validated through the Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Tuesday and may thus still change.

He said that the rest of the election hotspots will also be given a special focus for them not to be areas of concern.

“‘Yung pagbabantay natin during the election period, on how we collectively make sure that they cannot be an area of concern, doon tayo magbe-base –’yung tulong-tulong na pagbabantay to make sure these areas will not be an area of concern at ‘yung mga green will stay green, ‘yung yellow will make it to green areas,” he said.

Carlos said that they will maximize the police force in the identified areas. Personnel who are not much needed in their current deployment will be recalled and deployed for Eleksyon 2022.

“Ako ang intention ko (my intention) is to forward deploy all available personnel and just maintain a small number of quick reaction force even at the Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) para makita namin (so we can see), let’s say ARMM, how concerned are we going to be come May 9?” he added.

Carlos also said that the PNP will continue to process during the election period all applications for the License To Own and Possess Firearms (LTOPF).

However, the permit to carry (PTC) these firearms will be suspended during the election period.

“The ban on the firearms will be [from] January 9 to June 8 of 2022, so definitely ang suspended ‘yung privilege ‘yung (what is suspended is the privilege of) PTC. However, the PNP will not stop in processing their request to be given that privilege, but the effectivity will be not during the period of election,” he said.

Comelec issued Resolution No. 10728 that stated the prohibition on unauthorized firearms and bodyguards ahead of Eleksyon 2022.

On November 18, the PNP said it will focus on controlling the proliferation of illegal firearms and use of unauthorized bodyguards for politicians to help ensure a peaceful and orderly election period.

Carlos then directed concerned police directional staff, area commanders, and national support units to consolidate all resources, personnel, and support systems to observe the mandated police duties by the Comelec. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)