From just six in Janauary, the number of towns included in the Election Watchlist Areas (EWA) in connection to the May polls surged to 24, based on the latest assessment made by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7.
Superintendent Conrado Manatad, chief of the Bohol police Community Relations Branch, said that 18 and six towns were classified under the yellow and orange categories, respectively.
Places under the yellow category had previous election-related incidents and intense political rivalry, while those under the orange category have reported presence of armed groups in the past year.
However, Manatad did not identify the towns under the EWA as he awaited clearance to make the disclosure.
Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, PRO 7 director, last month bared that the town of Buenavista was placed under the orange category after the ambush of a mayoral candidate, Atty. Rico Cabarrubias in January.
Cabarubbias was unscathed but his driver was shot dead.
Five towns including Clarin, Inabanga, Tubigon, Pilar and Danao were placed under the yellow category in January.
Meanwhile, the commission on Elections reminded the public not to be alarmed if their towns are included in the list.
The EWA classification is used by the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines on where to focus the deployment of personnel to boost security during the election period. (RT)