ILOILO City – The peace and order situation in 133 Western Visayas municipalities is the Police Regional Office 6’s (PRO-6) top concern as the May 13 midterm elections draw near.
More policemen would be deployed to these areas, according to Police General John Bulalacao, regional police director, yesterday.
The 133 towns were further classified into four based on the degree of the security concerns as determined by the police – green (90), yellow (16), orange (23), and red (4).
The “green towns” are the least of the police’s concern but still require monitoring, according to Bulalacao.
The “yellow towns” have a history of, or current intense political rivalry among the contending election candidates. Such rivalry could motivate people to engage in violent acts, said Bulalacao.
In these towns, there may also be private armed groups abetted by loose firearms or and/or gun-for-fire gangs, and record of validated election-related incidents in the 2016 national and local elections.
Meanwhile, “orange towns” are considered “election areas of immediate concern”, said Bulalacao, for having a combination of factors cited in the yellow category, plus the presence and/or serious armed threat posed by the New People’s Army and other local terrorist groups.
Those in the “red” category, on the other hand, have a combination of concerns in the orange and yellow categories.
Bulalacao said the towns of Maasin, Calinog and Lemery in Iloilo province and the municipality of Moises Padilla in Negros Occidental fall under the “red towns” category.
Moises Padilla was placed under the red category, said Bulalacao, because of a recent violence – the killing of municipal councilor Jolomar Bañares Hilario who was running for a third term – and the presence of rebels in the town.
Hilario, 51, was sleeping when armed men barged into his house in Barangay Inolingan and sprayed him with bullets on March 30.
The armed men arrived on board a truck and identified themselves as members of the New People’s Army.
Hilario’s wife Michelle, the incumbent barangay captain, and their children were not harmed.
“Baka mabawasan o madagdagan ang data natin depende sa mga magyayari pa,” said Bulalacao./PN