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Entire Mindanao declared hotspot

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PHILSTAR

THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday declared the entire Mindanao as an election hotspot, citing armed threats and election-related violence in the area.

On Tuesday, the poll body said in a statement, “The Commission on Elections has declared the entire Mindanao Island Group as a Category Red Election Hotspot, for purposes of the 2019 National and Local Elections.”

Comelec, along with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) classify election hotspot as red if local government agencies report grave and risky conditions that might warrant the Comelec En Banc to motu proprio declare Comelec control in the area.

Comelec added that past politically-fueled violence in the region along with threats from armed groups has contributed to the declaration of Mindanao being a Category Red election hotspot. On top of that, the entire region has been under martial law since 2017.

“This developed in the wake of suspected election-related incidents in the last two elections, together with serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and/or Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other analogous groups,” Comelec reported.

Other areas labeled as Category Red along with Mindanao are Jones, Isabela; Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; and Abra province. — Gillian M. Cortez

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