Election 2007: Nearly 500 Villages in Davao Region Vulnerable to Violence

Apr. 19, 2007

DAVAO CITY — As many as 444 barangays (villages) in the Southern Mindanao region have been classified as among so-called “areas of immediate concern” this election season.

The police in the region reported 38 percent of the villages in Southern Mindanao, including those in three cities and 44 municipalities, are affected by armed and election-related threats.

Among the election-related atrocities reported is the shooting incident that victimized a political coordinator of Compostela Valley Representative Manuel Zamora along Diamond St. Golden Plains Subdicvision in Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province on April 16.

Yesterday morning, another incident was reported involving a driver/bodyguard of mayoralty bet Alex Brillantes of Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province. Joven, Lanoy, the victim, was shot by two unidentified men at Sitio Liboton, Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province.

Police regional director Andres Caro said during the AFP/PNP Forum yesterday that his office is preparing security measures to address possible atrocities especially in these areas under close watch.

This early, a peace covenant in every municipality is on its work. The PNP has initiated this effort by inviting different candidates to join the group through a covenant for a clean and honest elections.

Meanwhile, the PNP is tapping the support of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to assist the group in ensuring for a peaceful election.

Our number is not sufficient to safeguard all the voting polls, Caro said. The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported 1,440 polling centers in the region with a total of 15,846 voting precincts.

With only 4,000 men in our group, we can only deploy two policemen per polling center, he said.

However, the presence of the Army few meters away from the polling center is seen as sufficient support for the PNP to secure election areas.

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