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This week, a list of election ‘hotspots’ was released: Comelec Executive

DUMAGUETE CITY β€” The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is set to identify 104 electoral locations of concern in the country just two weeks before the May 9 polls, according to a ranking poll body official here Monday.

Previously, these areas were described in the media as being in the “red category,” or the highest rating for election areas of concern, according to Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia during a press conference following the signing of a peace pact in Sibulan, Negros Oriental.

“We are constantly monitoring the situation, especially coming from our field offices, including Regional Director (Dennis) Ausan, our election supervisors, aside from the assessment given by the military and the PNP (Philippine National Police),” Garcia said when asked why no election areas of concern have been declared.

According to him, the scenario can shift from “red” to “green” when political opponents are suddenly spotted shaking hands.

A “red” category denotes an area where election-related violence has occurred in the past.

According to Garcia, the Comelec is scheduled to release a list of “hotspots,” or election locations of concern, this week.

Only two hotspot locations have been declared under Comelec jurisdiction thus far, both in Lanao del Sur, he said.

He added that the Comelec chairman has full discretion to declare which sectors are of concern when appropriate without the need for an en banc resolution.

Garcia, on the other hand, highlighted that the poll body is adamant about not putting any area under Comelec authority as much as possible because of the repercussions.

“It will not serve the interests of the people, and masisira ang normalidad ng isang region (the normalcy of an area will be jeopardized),” he stated.

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