Friday, March 4, 2016

Masbate remains in election watchlist -- Marquez
By John Mark Escandor

NAGA CITY, March 3 (PNA) -- With a history of political violence, especially during election period, Masbate still remains among the provinces in the Philippines in the election watchlist, the Philippine National Police (PNP) top official said Wednesday.

Police Director General Ricardo Marquez, PNP chief, who visited Camarines Sur Wednesday, named Masbate in the six priority areas in the election watchlist, which included the provinces of Western Samar, Pangasinan, Negros Oriental, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

Marquez said they are studying the inclusion of the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Abra in the election watchlist.

He said the parameters for inclusion in the list include history of intense partisan political rivalry and incidents in the past that are politically motivated and election related.

Marquez said politically-motivated incidents are those committed before the campaign period starts while election-related incidents occur during the election period.

He said the presence of threat groups like Abu Sayyaf Group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and private army groups of influential politicians are also among the parameters for a place to be in the election watchlist.

Marquez said the proliferation of firearms in a certain town or city is considered in the parameters. He said the election watchlist has three categories.

The Category 1 area is when the incidents occurring are purely political; and where there are threat groups in the area, it falls under Category 2.

The PNP chief said the combination of categories 1 and 2 comprise the Category 3, which becomes a hotspot.

Marquez said there are 133 areas in Category 1, 54 areas under Category 2 and 99 areas in the last category, which is 17.5 percent of the total number of cities and municipalities nationwide. (PNA) LAP/FGS/JME/CBD/RSM