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No untoward election-related incidents so far

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

It was generally peaceful in the first two days of campaign period for local candidates in Negros Occidental, with no untoward election-related incident reported on March 25 and 26, according the Philippine National Police.

The 45-day campaign period for local candidates started March 25.

The Police Regional Office 6 is however closely monitoring Escalante City, Calatrava, Moises Padilla and Candoni which are included in the list of “Red” category by the Commission on Elections, as recommended by the Philippine Army and National Police.

PLt. Col. Arnel Solis, regional police spokesperson, said that the situation in the four local government units remains peaceful.

The four LGUs had a history of election-related incidents, intense political rivalries, and presence of New People’s Army and private armed groups in previous elections.

However, series of encounters between the Philippine Army and NPA rebels were reported on March 25 and 26 in the hinterlands of Himamaylan City, which is listed by Comelec as under “Orange” category.

Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson earlier reminded candidates in Negros Occidental to avoid acts of violence or intimidation with the start of the campaign period for local elections.

Local candidates have been also warned by the Philippine Army to not give in to the extortion demands of the CPP-NPA, in exchange for permit to campaign in areas being claimed by the local terrorist group as their “territories.”

On the other hand, Provincial Comelec supervisor Roberto Salazar reminded local candidates to follow health protocols imposed by the national Inter-Agency Task Force during their political rallies.

Salazar noted that all political rallies even before the start of the local campaigns in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City on March 25 “did not observe the health protocols especially on physical distancing.”*

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