Election hotspots in Calabarzon bared


The Police Regional Office (PRO) on Wednesday identified 32 towns and cities and 50 barangays in the Calabarzon Region – comprising Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon provinces – as “election watch list areas” in the May 14 synchronized Barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.

Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, PRO-Calabarzon Director, said the 82 places were assessed as areas of concern based on historical and current intense rivalry among the contending parties that could trigger violent acts, employment of private armed groups, or proliferation of loose firearms.

Areas were also classified according to serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists and other rebel groups.

Based on records, these areas of concern are the towns of Rosario, Tanza, Carmona, Maragondon and the cities of Trece Martires, Dasmariñas, Imus and Bacoor in Cavite province.

In Laguna, areas of concern are Calauan and the cities of San Pedro and San Pablo.

In Batangas, the towns of Bauan, Santa Teresita, Mataas Na Kahoy, Calaca, Calatagan, Nasugbu, Balayan, Tuy and Lian, and Tanauan City are listed as areas of concern.

The town of Rodriguez and Antipolo City in Rizal province are also listed as areas of concern.

In Quezon province, the areas of concern are the towns of Lucban, Lopez, General Luna, San Francisco, General Nakar, Real, Mauban, Pagbilao, Catanauan and Mulanay.

Eleazar said a city or municipality is classified as area of concern if there were recent attacks against barangay officials or candidates, or where NPA rebels operate and were believed to be collecting permit to campaign fees that also qualify as areas of concern.

In April alone, police records showed four gun attacks against barangay executives.

These were the killing of Barangay Bagtas Chair Leonilo Arbonida in Tanza, Cavite on April 14; and the killing of Barangay Anato Councilor Felix Arias Cabili in Pagbilao on April 21, and Barangay Cambuga Chair Domingo Ruedas in Mulanay on April 7, both in Quezon province.

Also listed was the gun attack on Barangay Santiago Chair Mario Flores on April 20 in San Pablo City.

Eleazar said more policemen will be deployed to the areas of concern if security situations call for it.

Between April 14 and April 30, police arrested in the region 107 people for violation of the election gun ban and seized 81 firearms, 11 bladed weapons and a hand grenade. (Roselle Aquino/PNA)