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2 cities, 16 towns in BARMM listed as “hot spot areas”

NDBC BANTAY HALALAN 2023 • 15:15 PM Thu Mar 31, 2022
Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, PRO-BAR police regional director. (KutangBato News)

CAMP SK PENDATUN, Maguindanao  – Following a series of assessment and evaluation as well as sharing of intelligence information with the military, police authorities in the Bangsamoro Autononous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have identified 16 towns and two cities as “hot spot areas” in the region during election season.

Named as “red code” areas are towns and cities where violence in previous elections, intense political rivalry and presence of threat armed groups and terrorist organizations exist in these areas.

Earlier, PRO-BARMM have identified 102 communities across BARMM as “areas of concern” in the coming elections.

Brig. Gen. Arthur Cabalona, BARMM police regional director, said Basilan has four “red code” areas – Al Barka, Sumisip, Ungkaya Pukan and Lamitan City while Lanao del Sur has Malabang, Butig, Tubaran and Marawi City.

Maguindanao has 10 “red code areas” and these are the towns of Rajah Buayan, Sultan sa Barongis, Datu Hofer, Datu Piang, Datu Salibo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Unsay, Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak, and Shariff Saydona Mustapha.

Sulu and Tawi-Tawi have no “red code” areas but there are communities listed as possible areas of concern.

Provincial candidates, governor, vice governor and House representatives, are running unopposed in the two areas.

Cabalona also said that BARMM police officers have undergone the Commission on Elections (Comelec) “Board of Election Inspectors training” to serve as poll officials once teachers refused to serve due to relationship to some candidates, security issues and for other valid reasons.

Earlier, Cabalona directed all members of PNP in BARMM to remain apolitical to help ensure peaceful and orderly May 9, 2022 national and local polls.

Police and military authorities admitted that armed groups such as Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Dawlah Islamiya, private armed groups and politicians “private armies” pose threats to the conduct of election.

However, Cabalona stressed, steps are in place to attain SAFE 2022 or Secure, Accurate, Free Elections. 

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