By ERWIN MASCARIÑAS
BUTUAN City – The Caraga police over the weekend revealed that it has identified some 93 barangays in the region as areas of concern in the upcoming May barangay and youth elections.
The 93 “hotspots” are among Caraga’s 1,311 barangays.
Senior Supt. Rogelio Raymundo Jr. of the Caraga police’s operations and planning division, said the areas of concern are classified “Category 2” either because of the threats posed by the New People’s Army or because of intense political rivalries.
Raymundo said the police list has been sent to the Commission on Elections.
Police said it would be up to the Comelec to decide on whether or not to include the barangays in its election watchlist or turn these villages into Comelec-controlled areas.
Raymundo said the list was a result of a joint evaluation made by the Caraga police and the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
Last month, the police in the region and Camp Evangelista agreed to carry out joint internal security operations. With these, Raymundo said, the number of areas of concern in Caraga could shoot down prior to the May elections.
“With our military conducting continuous barangay clearing operations, we are expecting the number of barangays in the list to decline,” Raymundo said.
He said Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, commander of the 4th ID, assured that the full force of the Army’s 401st and 402nd brigades would help the Caraga police in carrying out security operations in the region.
Meanwhile, Chief Supt. Noli Romana, police regional director, said he also wanted to make sure that no police officer in the region would be involved in partisan politics.
“I’ve made it clear to our police chiefs throughout the region that we should adhere to our objective and conduct of being police officers. We should not miss this opportunity to show to the voting public that we are impartial and professionals,” said Romana.