Committee formed to identify EWAs
CEBU, Philippines — A committee has been formed by the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) to determine the places which will be part of the election watchlist areas (EWA) for the May 2019 polls.
It is composed of the commission itself, the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and other stakeholders.
The determination of local EWAs is set to be discussed in February. An area included in the EWAs will have tighter security measures on the day of the polls due to various reasons such as intense political rivalry and history of election-related violence.
From the lowest to the highest alert level, EWAs are coded in yellow, orange, and red respectively.
Provincial Election Supervisor Jerome Brilliantes said that an area will have to be recommended by a member of the committee. Then, the other members will assess if it should be included in the list.
The lawyer explained that the list will be continuously be updated depending on the eventualities as the Election Day draws near.
In the most recent polls, the May 2018 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, Tuburan town was considered code orange which means there is presence of armed groups during the past elections.
Six more cities and towns in Cebu have election hotspots based on a report provided by the PNP in December 2018 and all were yellow coded which means there is “intense political rivalry” in the area.
These are Danao City, Mandaue City, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City, San Fernando town, and Ronda town.
At the national level, Camp Crame released a list of election hotspots labeled as Category III on Monday. These areas are equivalent to code red where there is presence of armed groups and there is a history of violence in the past elections.
Cebu is not part of the released list.
The areas on the list were Sudipen and Balawan in La Union province, Jones in Isabela, Lemery in Batangas, Roxas in Oriental Mindoro, Balud and Dimasalang in Masbate, Pagadian City in Zamboanga del Sur and Cagayan de Oro City in Misamis Oriental.
Most were in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (FREEMAN)