LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has identified the towns of Balungao and Rosales as election hotspots under orange category, or election areas of immediate concern.
“Based from Comelec resolution no. 10501 dated March 14, 2019, from the five election areas of immediate concern, only Balungao and Rosales remained, while Bayambang, Sto. Tomas and Urbiztondo were downgraded to the yellow category or election areas of concern,” Senior Insp. Ria Tacderan, information officer of the Pangasinan Police Provincial Office, said in an interview Thursday.
Tacderan explained that the two towns have two or more factors under the orange category.
“Under orange category, there is intense political rivalry, occurrence of or suspected occurrence of election incidents and or existence of partisan armed groups. With the presence of even only two of these factors, a town or city will be placed under orange category,” she said.
The three towns, however, were downgraded following continuous validation and monitoring of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Comelec.
“There is now low possibility or threat of election-related incidents. The joint checkpoints and other police operations are effective in lowering the threat in those areas,” Tacderan said.
She disclosed that the PPO’s campaign, for example, against loose firearms yielded 290 surrendered guns for safekeeping, and 50 collected from implementation of search warrants since the election gun ban started on January 13 this year.
Meanwhile, Tacderan urged candidates to apply for security assistance at the Comelec if there are threats against them, or seek assistance from the PNP during their campaign rallies.
“We at the PNP are into precautionary measures. They just need to approach us so we could instruct them how to apply for security in Comelec, while if they need police presence in their rallies, we could also assist them,” she said.
Tacderan also assured that even the towns and cities that are not identified as election hotspots will be secured by the police.
“No need to fear or panic for those under orange category as well as those without categorization as we will do our mandate. The categorization is just to know where most augmentation will be placed considering limited resources of our police. Also, with the support of the community then we can ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” she said. (PNA)