From the Visayan Daily Star (May 15): Rebels sighted but polls peaceful, PNP, AFP say
Despite sightings of armed New People’s Army men in central Negros, the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections in Negros Occidental yesterday turned out to be generally peaceful, police and military officials reported
Capt. Ruel Llanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade spokesman, said yesterday they, monitored sightings of armed rebels in central Negros, especially in the hinterlands of Himamaylan City, but there were no armed engagements.
The 62nd Infantry Battalion soldiers are still in pursuit of rebels, who had killed two of their colleagues and inflicted injuries on eight others on Saturday in Brgy. Tan-awan, Kabankalan City, in an encounter that lasted for almost one hour.
There are 80 barangays classified as poll hotspots in Negros Occidental.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said yesterday that they have not monitored any election-related incident in the province.
The municipalities of Moises Padilla, Calatrava, Toboso and Salvador Benedicto and Isabela, where sightings of armed men, incidents of killings and alleged atrocities of the New People’s Army, had taken place, turned out to be peaceful also, the police said.
The deployment of police personnel in those towns had been maximized by the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, in coordination with the Philippine Army.
Castil said they have received reports of vote buying in La Castellana, and in some areas of Negros Occidental, which is now being investigated by the Commission on Election.
Although the casting of votes was generally peaceful, Inspector Charmae De Paz, spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said the entire police force remains on alert since the canvassing of votes is the most critical.
“We will not lower our security and will be in continuous coordination with the AFP until such time that the BSKE is officially terminated,” De Paz added.