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ELECTION HOT SPOTS | 2 ARMM provinces, 6 others are 'areas of concern' - Brillantes

The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines - Commission on Election (Comelec) Chairman Sixto Brillantes on Sunday identified eight provinces including two from the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) as “areas of concern” which the poll body will monitor closely.

In a radio interview over DzBB, Brillantes said that after the command conference with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippines National Police (PNP) two weeks ago, these are the provinces of Abra, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Masbate, Western Samar, Occidental Mindanao, and Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Yan ang una naming binabantayan dahil dyan magsimula ang kaguluhan dahil nagsimula na ang local campaign talagang maiinit ang labanan (These are what we guard against first because the conflict normally starts when the local campaign heats up),” he said.

There are also municipal-level areas of concern.

Peaceful in other ARMM

At the same time, Brillantes said the poll body expects the elections in the three other ARMM provinces of Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, and Basilan to be peaceful as the politicians there earlier agreed to give way to their rivals for certain electoral positions.

Nagkasundo-sundo na ang mga pulitiko doon at hinati-hati ang mga puwesto,” Brillantes said.

In Metro Manila, election campaign is generally peaceful because in some parts of the metropolis – as in the mayoral campaign for Quezon City, Navotas, Malabon, Marikina, and Pasig - there are no opposing candidates, he said.

When violence escalates 

Brillantes said an area of concern will be upgraded to “immediate area of concern” if the number of election-related violent incidents escalates. He said more men in uniform will be deployed to these areas.

Kapag lumala pa, magiging ‘area of great concern’ yan, lalo pa namin tutukan. Ngayon kung hindi na mapigilan yan, Comelec control na po ang papasok (If the situation worsens, it will become an ‘area of great concern’ and we will put more focus. But if it still doesn’t stop, that’s when it is placed under Comelec control),” he said.