The Commission on Elections placed the whole Mindanao under Comelec control for the coming mid-term polls in May.
However, the Police Regional Office XI has its own criteria and only placed 13 barangays—all in Davao del Sur—under red level.
A red classification means there is an existence of election-related incidents and the serious presence of armed threat groups such as the New People’s Army, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group, and terrorist groups.
Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press briefing held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel, Chief Insp. Jason Baria, the spokesperson of PRO XI, said, “here in the region we have categorization and in that, we will also preposition our troops because of the capabilities.”
The color-coding scheme will allow them to prioritize security in critical areas, which is crucial since they don’t have enough manpower.
“We will tighten more our security during the election,” Baria said.
Baria said the color-coding scheme is fluid. The final list could still change with less than two months to go before the elections.
“In our categorization, if how many areas have been placed under red code then we will focus there the security deployment,” he added.
Last Jan. 16, the Davao Police Regional Office cleared 823 out of nearly 1,200 barangays in the region after determining that there are no more security concerns in these areas for the coming mid-term elections.
The Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Council last month meeting amended the classification of the barangays listed in the poll watch list — from the original numbers to color-coding.
PRO XI director, Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, said the color-coding scheme – green, yellow, orange, and red — would make it easier to map out the jurisdictions of the different police stations and army battalions.
The Green category means the area is relatively peaceful or orderly with no security concerns.
The Yellow category states there’s an existence of election-related incident. While there is no domestic threat groups and intense political rivalry, there is a possibility that the candidates will hire armed groups.
Category orange means the area has a combination of one or more factors: there is a serious armed threat posed by the NPA, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
Based on the record listed by the Regional Intelligence Division, there are 86 areas under the yellow category, 233 in orange, and 13 for red in the five provinces and one major city in the region.
Davao del Sur has the only red category in the region with 13 barangays. Other barangays are orange (132) and yellow (17). There are 63 barangays that are in green category.
In Davao Occidental, 97 areas fall under green; seven in orange; and one in yellow. In Davao del Norte, 186 areas are green and 37 are orange. In Compostela Valley, 169 areas are green and 68 are yellow.
Col. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said that they have received the directive last night that the whole Island of Mindanao is under Comelec control during the election period.
“As far as the implementing rules and regulation we are still waiting for the memorandum but nonetheless the joint security committee of the AFP-PNP Comelec in the regions and provinces and municipalities as far as the security of the election is concerned,” Balagtey said.