The number of election areas of concern under the red category has increased from around 240 to 357, Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo said on Monday.
“As of October 5, nadagdagan po ang ating election areas of concern. Iyong red category po natin ay nasa around 357 [our election areas of concern increased. Those in the red category are at 357],” Fajardo said at a press conference.
Areas under the red category may be placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) depending on the discretion of the poll body, according to Fajardo.
Around 70% of these areas are located in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM.)
Meanwhile, Fajardo said 1,323 areas are under the orange category and 1,231 areas are under the yellow category.
The final list of election areas of concern depends on the approval of the Comelec, according to Fajardo. But she said the police organization will already use its list for additional security deployment.
Yellow areas may have intense partisan political rivalry and candidates possibly employing partisan armed groups. These areas may also be previously declared under the Comelec control.
Orange areas exhibit two or more factors under the yellow category or a serious armed threat posed by local terrorist groups and other threat groups.
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.
As of Monday, the PNP monitored 71 incidents of violence suspected to be related with the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE).
Of the total number, only eight incidents have been validated to be connected with the polls and 45 have been confirmed to be not related to the elections.
The investigation in the remaining 18 incidents are still ongoing.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,208 individuals have been arrested and 912 firearms have been confiscated due to election gun ban violation, according to Fajardo.
The BSKE 2023 is set to be held on October 30. — RSJ/BM, GMA Integrated News