The town of Buenavista is now on orange alert for threat of armed individuals.
Police Regional Director Debold Sinas, who was in Bohol last Friday, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) now adopted the color-coding in assessing the threat situation of areas in relation to the upcoming elections.
Sinas said the PNP had already identified the election watchlist subject to weekly assessment.
Here in Bohol, there is only one area of concern, which is Buenavista in the light of the ambush of the mayoralty candidate, lawyer Rico Cabbarubias on January 14.
“Here in Bohol usa ra ang concern,” Sinas said.9
The rest of the municipalities in Bohol hardly have any concern and remain- -some are under green alert, some under yellow alert- -so, not much of a concern, according to Sinas.
From yellow, Buenavista concern has been elevated to orange alert.
On this, Sinas said he had instructed PNP Provincial Director Julius Cesar Gornez to check from time to time for any threat.
He said he hopes there would be no much of some threat so that the election period will pass smoothly.
However, if there would be some development or incidents that may arise and it would be found that there is presence of armed groups in an area, the classification of an area under the color-coding will automatically be upgraded.
Sinas said the review on the situations in the areas is conducted weekly, so there would be a weekly update as to the threat alert status every week.
So far, the election watchlist areas (EWAS) in Bohol remain six- -the towns of Clarin, Inabanga, Buenavista, Tubigon, Pilar and Danao.
When first declared in relation to the May 2019 elections, these areas were all classified in yellow alert.
Of these six areas, only Buenavista has leveled up to orange level.
Yellow category of EWAS means there is history of intense political rivalry in the area.
The presence of armed personalities that affect the situation of an area will cause the upgrading from yellow to orange category.
Considering that Bohol, historically, is peaceful, Sinas said he is hopeful that the situation can be maintained.
“One of our ideas is to conduct candidates forum, peace covenants and I’m hoping PD (Gornez) can conduct a province level (version)kay ang intense political rivalry is in the provincial level,” Sinas said.
He explained that the political rivalry at the municipal level is not that intense as in the provincial level.
The political rivalry at the municipal level is either not intense or is hardly noticeable and it would be unfair to include the municipal areas in the declaration of the “intense rivalry”, he added.
“Wala kaayo ang municipal level. Gamay lang or murag wala. It is the provincial level that is hotly contested. Unfair pod if duha lang ka kandidato and whole Bohol i-declare. Unfair sa local. So, tan-awn lang nato,”Sinas said.