BY DOMINIQUE GABRIEL G. BAÑAGA
BACOLOD City – As the May 2022 synchronized national and local elections draw near, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) tagged a city and a municipality as hotspots.
The city is located in the northern part of the province while the municipality is in the south, according to Police Lieutenant Abegael Donasco, NOCPPO spokesperson.
She, however, declined to identify the city and town.
The NOCPPO was continually validating the situation in these areas and their designation could still change, Donasco explained.
The city and town were deemed election hotspots due to the presence of private armed groups and communist rebels in their respective territories, Donasco explained.
She also said areas classified as hotspots during the 2019 midterm elections were yet to be classified.
Other factors being considered when classifying an area’s status vis-à-vis the elections are its history of election-related violence, if any, and intense political rivalry.
Donasco also said the NOCPPO issued a recall order to all police officers serving as close-in bodyguards of politicians in accordance with the request of the Commission on Elections.
However, if their having policemen as bodyguards has legitimate reasons, said Donasco, NOCPPO director Police Colonel Romy Palgue will allow politicians to retain them.
On Monday, the Philippine National Police said over 500 areas across the country were being considered as hotspots for the 2022 elections./PN