A total of 35 incidents of violence suspected to be related to the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSKE) elections have been recorded so far, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday.
At a press conference, PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo said only four of the suspected incidents have been validated to be connected to the upcoming polls.
“As of 12 a.m. of September 16, 35 na po iyong recorded incidents (the recorded incidents were 35),” Fajardo said.
“Twelve po diyan, suspected election-related incidents. Apat pa rin po iyong ating validated election-related incidents. At 19 po ang validated non-election-related incidents,” she added.
(Twelve of them are still suspected as election-related incidents. Four were validated to be election-related incidents and 19 were validated to be non-election-related incidents.)
Fajardo said the four validated election-related incidents involved three shooting incidents, and one incident of alarm and scandal.
The 12 incidents still undergoing validation if they are related to the elections include seven shooting incidents, two physical injuries, one hacking, one robbery, as well as one alarm and scandal incident.
Meanwhile, the 19 incidents validated to be not related to the polls involve eight shooting incidents, three stabbing incidents, two robberies, one alarm and scandal incident, one gun ban violation, one child abuse, and one unjust vexation incident.
As of Sunday, Fajardo said 682 individuals have been arrested due to gun ban violations and 422 firearms have been confiscated.
Areas of election concern
Earlier, the PNP placed 27 areas of election concern in the “red” category for the October 2023 BSKE.
The PNP classification places areas in one of four categories: green, yellow, orange, and red.
Election areas in the green category are those with no security concerns or are relatively peaceful and orderly.
Areas in the yellow category have reported suspected election-related incidents in the last two polls but no participation of local terror groups. Intense partisan political rivalry is also noted in these areas, and the candidates’ possible employment of partisan armed groups. These areas may also be previously declared under the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) control.
Areas in the orange category exhibit two or more factors under the yellow category, or a serious armed threat posed by local terrorist groups and other threat groups including the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The red category refers to areas with one or more factors described under the yellow category and serious armed threats posed by local terrorist groups.
PNP Directorate for Operations Police Brigadier General Leo Francisco earlier said that at least 4,085 areas are in the yellow category, while 232 are in the orange category.
The BSKE 2023 is set to be held on October 30. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News