From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 24): 4 towns on close watch
Four towns in Negros Occidental are now being closely monitored by the Philippine National Police, in connection with the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14, because of numerous shooting incidents that recently took place in them.
The New People’s Army recently claimed responsibility for the killing of a retired Army soldier and a policeman in Isabela, as well as the attempt to kill a Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team member in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.
The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office also recorded other killings in the upland areas of Toboso and Calatrava, and in Moises Padilla, but it has not been established if they were insurgency-related.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, yesterday said they have already started re-aligning their forces for election-related purposes, to ensure a peaceful and orderly election on May 14.
Castil said he foresees possible trouble that may arise in those areas during the election.
He added that they are also coordinating with the 303rd Infantry Brigade to secure the hinterland areas of Negros Occidental.
Troopers of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion 6 are also augmenting the Negros Occidental PNP in securing the province during the May 14 elections.
Ninety-three of the 601 barangays in Negros Occidental, excluding Bacolod City, have been reported by the military to be either infiltrated, or under the influence of the CPP-NPA.
Capt. Eduardo Precioso, Public Affairs Office chief of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, however, said that the 93 barangays, communist rebels have established their influence in 26.
Precioso said it is up to the Commission on Election to determine if those barangays will be included in the Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS), in line with the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.
The Provincial Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center, which is composed of the Commission on Elections, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Police, in Negros Occidental, is slated to convene next week to discuss security-related concerns.