The declaration of seven election watch-list areas (EWA) in Bohol is based on the joint task forceâ€™s election monitoring during the previous elections, clarifies Bohol Commission on Elections (COMELEC) supervisor Atty. Eliseo Labaria.
The joint task force, composite of the Philippine national Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, the COMELEC and other support groups have been compiling incidents: politically motivated or election related incidents from last elections, explains joint task force members recently.
This also means that the joint task force may have to agree again if there has been a change in the situation since last elections, police members of the election task force said.
Earlier, the COMELEC identified the seven EWAs in Bohol as Buenavista, Clarin, Cortes, Danao, Inabanga, Pilar and Ubay.
These towns have been in the EWAS either due to politically motivated violence or election related incidents in the past.
According to police sources, politically motivated incidents are those that happen prior to the election period while election related incidents happen within the election period.
The EWAs have been raised for history of intense partisan political rivalry, election related or politically motivated incidents, and private army groups of influential politicians.
Newspaper reports that Cortes mayor and former police ranking officer who used to be the budget officer of the past mayor, complained about Cortes inclusion into the EWA list.
But COMELEC insists it was a collegial decision of the team to put the towns under EWAs based on the above histories.
On the other hand, Atty Eliseo Labaria added that the team would now be sitting again to evaluate how the situation in these EWA areas have changed in the past months.
As the election period started January 10, the task force is also expected to issue another round of election watch areas: take off or maybe add some more towns in the list.Â (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)