BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Thirty barangays in Negros Occidental have been classified as "areas of concern" in relation to next month's barangay elections.
Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that these barangays are said to be penetrated by the New People's Army (NPA). They are located in the 1st, 5th and 6th districts of the province.
He clarified though that these areas are not "hot spots" but only "areas of concern."
"This does not mean that the entire barangays are affected by the NPA, only some of their sitios," he said.
There are 662 barangays in Negros Occidental.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) expects intense political rivalries among candidates in Negros Occidental during the barangay elections on October 28.
Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, provincial police director, explained that rivalries at the barangay level are mostly personal since candidates live in the same place.
Lirazan however gave assurance that they have put in place security measures to ensure peaceful elections, and that they may recommend the signing of peace covenants among candidates.
In this year's midterm elections, some local candidates asked Commission on Elections to place the province under its control due to killings prior to the polls, but the military and police didn't support the call.