election watch list

500 election watch list areas monitored

500 election watch list areas monitored
By Cecille Suerte Felipe
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 500 election watch list areas are being monitored by the Philippine National Police to prevent untoward incidents during the May 10 general elections, PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa said yesterday.

“Election watch list areas are around 500 and the areas of immediate concern are I think around 18 or 17,” Verzosa told reporters during a command conference in Camp Aguinaldo with officials of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and other stakeholders of the coming elections.

Verzosa explained some areas were included in the watch list due to a history of violence in the past elections.

“Quezon, Masbate, Iloilo, the three Samar provinces, Surigao, Davao, these are the usual areas. We are focusing on these provinces and we added additional security forces, depending on the progress on the ground,” Verzosa said.

He reiterated his directive for police regional, provincial and station commanders to strengthen their security preparations for clean, honest and orderly polls.

Meanwhile, Verzosa noted there was no need to deploy more police troops in Maguindanao despite a grenade blast in Datu Odin town last Wednesday night.

“We have enough (troops) there,” Verzosa said.

He noted there are developments on their campaign to thwart private armed groups, which usually carry out violence during election season.

“I think around 73 persons, members of private armed groups, were arrested and we have seized 80 high-powered firearms,” said Verzosa, noting that the arrests were made mostly in areas of concern.