Another “area of immediate concern” in the May 13 mid-term elections is expected to be declared in Negros Occidental, in the wake of the killing of reelectionist Escalante City Councilor Bernardino Patigas Sr. on Monday.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec)-led Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC), during its meeting on Tuesday, recommended that Escalante City, situated in northern Negros, be placed under Category Orange.
Provincial Election Supervisor Salud Milagros Villanueva said the incident can be considered as election-related.
“That’s the reason why we are recommending that Escalante be re-categorized to ‘Orange’ from ‘Yellow’,” he said.
For the 2019 elections, the Comelec uses color coding in classifying election hotspots. These are Category Green, Category Yellow, Category Orange and Category Red.
Category Green refers to areas that do not have security concerns and are generally peaceful and orderly.
Category Yellow are “areas of concern,” which means that these have a history of election-related incidents in the last two elections and intense political rivalry, and these had been previously declared under Comelec control.
Category Orange lists the “areas of immediate concern” where there is serious armed threat posed by the New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless elements.
Category Red means “areas of grave concern,” which exhibit combined factors under the Yellow and Orange categories that it may warrant the motu proprio (on its own) declaration of Comelec control.
Two local government units in Negros Occidental — Moises Padilla town and Himamaylan City — have been placed under Category Red.
Those under Category Orange are Kabankalan City and the towns of Toboso, Isabela, and Hinobaan.
There are 13 LGUs under Category Yellow, including the municipalities of Calatrava, Don Salvador Benedicto, E.B. Magalona, Hinigaran, La Castellana, Binalbagan, Ilog, Candoni, Cauayan and the cities of Escalante, Silay, Sipalay, and San Carlos.
Villanueva said that San Carlos was previously under Category Green, but was moved to Category Yellow after reports on the presence of armed groups in the northern Negros city had been validated.
Meanwhile, the areas under Category Green are the towns of Manapla, Murcia, Pontevedra, Pulupandan, San Enrique, Valladolid, and the cities of Bacolod, Talisay, Victorias, Bago, La Carlota, Cadiz, and Sagay. (By Nanette Guadalquiver)
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