PNP tags 128 ‘red’ poll areas

VOTING LESSONS New voters are shown sample ballots during the launch of a series of information drives on responsible voting for the youth in Marikina City on Monday, April 4, 2022. Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez led the event. PHOTO BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

THE Philippine National Police (PNP) has listed more than 100 municipalities and 14 cities as areas with the highest risk of violence erupting during the elections in May.

The areas fall under the “red” category in the PNP's four-color classification, PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Bernardo Carlos said on Monday.

Red areas will be placed under Commission on Elections (Comelec) control because of their history of election-related incidents and the confirmed presence of armed groups.

Green areas have had generally peaceful polls in the past.

Yellow areas are considered as “areas of concern” because of suspected poll-related incidents in the past two elections, the possible presence of armed groups and intense political rivalries.

Orange areas are “areas of immediate concern” because of the presence of armed groups, such as the New People's Army and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, that could interrupt the electoral proceedings.

Carlos said the police will continue to monitor yellow and orange areas but its focus will be on the red areas.

Earlier, the Comelec listed 300 “areas of concern” or “election hot spots” around the country.

Carlos said he called a command conference on Monday to assess the security situation in each region.

He said the PNP will continue to make adjustments in personnel deployment as the polls near.

As early as March, Regional Special Operations Task Groups have been deployed in the red areas “to support the preparations being made by the different provinces or city, municipality police units,” said Carlos.

The PNP is continuously coordinating with the Comelec and its deputized agencies like the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine Coast Guard “to further validate information on some 300 localities recommended being categorized as election areas of concern,” he added.

PNP spokesman Col. Jean Fajardo said 1,971 officers with relatives who are candidates in the elections have been relieved or reassigned to ensure that the police force will be “non-partisan” during the polls.

A total of 147 field commanders were also reshuffled.

Carlos also reminded the candidates that campaigning will not be allowed on April 14, Holy Thursday, and April 15, Good Friday.

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