- GILBERT BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson advised the public not to be alarmed following the identification of 51 barangays as election areas of concern in Negros Occidental, by the Regional Joint Security Coordinating Center, during its meeting Thursday in Iloilo City.
Negros Occidental has 662 barangays.
Among the election watchlist areas (EWAs) in Negros Occidental, three barangays are categorized as areas of concern, 45 as areas of immediate concern, and three others as areas of grave concern.
Lacson, who attended the third quarter meeting of the Regional Development Council in Bago City earlier today, Sept. 22, said that by declaring a barangay as an area of concern, authorities may now closely observe the concerned village, especially during the campaign period.
Lacson said other factors are also being considered when an area is declared a concern, such as insurgency-related incidents, but which has nothing to do with the coming synchronized BSKE.
The governor said he is confident that Negros Occidental will have a peaceful election next month.
A barangay is categorized as an election area of concern if it has recorded election-related incidents in the past two years, while areas of immediate concern mean there is a serious armed threat from the New People’s Army, or individuals.
A village placed under the area of grave concern category indicates the presence of armed rebels, employment of partisan armed men, intense political rivalry, and a history of election related incidents in the past, based on the parameters issued by the Commission on Elections./GB