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Calatrava – most election areas of concern

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• GILBERT P. BAYORAN

The municipality of Calatrava topped the 32 local government units in Negros Occidental in terms of the most areas of concern, in line with the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections scheduled for October 30.

Calatrava has nine election areas of concern, followed by cities of Kabankalan and Sipalay, Isabela and Cauayan at five each, four each in Escalante City and Toboso, three in Moises Padilla, two each in Candoni, Don Salvador Benedicto, Binalbagan and Himamaylan City, and one each in La Castellana, Ilog, and San Enrique, Commission on Elections records showed.

Provincial Comelec supervisor Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria, however said that they may add another barangay in northern Negros to the list of areas of concern, citing a recent ambush encounter incident.

The encounter on September 21 in Brgy. Tabugon, Kabankalan City, claimed the lives of six suspected New People’s Army rebels, as reported by the Philippine Army.

Among the 51 Election Areas of Concern (EACs) in Negros Occidental, three barangays are categorized as areas of concern (yellow category), 45 as areas of immediate concern (orange category), and three others as areas of grave concern (red category).

On the other hand, the remaining 611 barangays have no security concern.

The 51 barangays placed under EACs in Negros Occidental have been affected by movements of the New People’s Army, according to a report of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, a copy of which was furnished to the Comelec.

However, there was no report of violent election related incidents, or existence of private armed group in the 51 EACs.

Negros Occidental has 662 barangays, including 61 in Bacolod City.

For areas categorized as grave concern, or red category, Ananoria said there will be a focus of security operations in those areas.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police also reported that 27 barangays were placed under EACs in Negros Oriental.*

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