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PNP tags initial 43 hot spots in Davao

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DAVAO CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO-11) on Wednesday bared the areas in 43 cities and municipalities in Davao Region that are placed under the election watch list areas (EWAS) for the upcoming 2019 midterm election.

Chief Inspector Jason Baria, PRO-11 spokesperson, said the number could go down if the peace and order situation in these areas will improve. He said the final specific areas will be released soon once further cleared through intelligence monitoring.

Of the 43 areas, Compostela Valley province has EWAS in its 11 towns; Davao del Sur – 9; Davao del Norte – 8; Davao City – 7; Davao Oriental – 6; and Davao Occidental – 2.

During the AFP-PNP press corps briefing on Wednesday here, Baria said the EWAS areas in Davao del Sur are in the municipalities of Malalag, Hagonoy, and Padada, which are placed under under Category 1; Magsaysay, Kiblawan, and Matanao under Category 2; Bansalan, Sta Cruz, and Digos City under Category 3.

The two municipalities in Davao Occidental are Jose Abad Santos and Malita.

Baria said the districts of Toril, Tugbok, Calinan, Marilog, Baguio, and Paquibato are also placed under EWAS, as well as all municipalities of Compostela Valley province; 20 barangays in Panabo City; Barangays Pandapan and San Agustin in Tagum City; the towns of Asuncion, Carmen, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro and Talaingod in
Davao del Norte; Mati City, Lupon, Baganga, Tarragona and Manay in Davao Oriental are all placed under EWAS.

Superintendent Nolasco Bathan, PRO-11 deputy regional director, said election watch list areas are classified under four categories: Areas placed under Category 1 are those that have records of politically-motivated violent incidents that may occur during the elections due to the intense political rivalry;

Areas under Category 2 have serious armed threats posed by organized threat groups like the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), the Bangsamoro Independent Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG);

Areas falling under Category 3 are areas where the threats under category 1 and 2 are present, while under the Category 4 the areas affected by political rivalry that could motivate people to engage in violence, violence may be facilitated by employment of private armed groups, loose firearms fall into the hands of unqualified individuals, serious armed threats by the CPP-NPA, BIFF, ASG and other armed groups;

Areas under Category 4 are placed under the Comelec immediate and direct control and supervision.

Lt. Gen Benjamin Madrigal, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), said EWAS list is the result of coordination between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the police.

Madrigal also noted the improved security situation in the region, which he said will make the work of government security forces during the May 2019 easier. (Lilian C Mellejor/PNA)

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