BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
More than three weeks before the May 9 elections, the election areas of concern in Negros Occidental, including highly urbanized Bacolod City, remains at 19.
Still under red category due to serious armed threats and previous election related cases of violence are Moises Padilla, Calatrava and Candoni, as well as Escalante City.
The local Comelec has, however, issued an appeal for the Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center (RJSCC) to downgrade the category of highly urbanized Bacolod from yellow to green.
The RJSCC cited intense political rivalries among candidates, which prompted placing Bacolod City under yellow category.
Despite a series of encounters between government security forces and the New People’s Army in the hinterlands of Himamaylan City, it remains under orange category, according to Provincial Comelec supervisor Roberto Salazar Jr.
The cities of Kabankalan, Silay, Sipalay, Victorias as well as towns of La Castellana, Binalbagan, Cauayan, Manapla, Ilog, Isabela and Toboso also remained at the orange category due to threats on security by the NPA.
The 13 remaining local government units in the province are under the green category, with no signs of violence or threats to the May 9 polls.
Salazar reminded candidates to refrain from campaigning on Maundy Thursday and Holy Friday.
“Take a rest and reflect,” Salazar advised the candidates.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 10730, he said it is unlawful for all candidates to campaign during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, in connection with the celebration of the Lenten season.
He said that the campaigning will resume on Black Saturday.*