By Samuel Medenilla
With the postponement of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (BSK) polls in Mindanao, the Commission on Election (Comelec) said it expects fewer areas of concern during the forthcoming local elections next month.
“We could have a lower number of areas put under Comelec control only because we have had areas in Mindanao placed under Comelec control in the past,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
On Sept. 5, 2017, Comelec decided to defer the BSK elections in Mindanao citing security concerns in the region, which is currently still under martial law.
Despite this projection, Jimenez, said they are still expecting the possible eruption of election violence in Luzon and Visayas, where the BSK is still scheduled to be held on Oct. 23, 2017.
“Political rivalries, for instance, may flare up or disappear from election to election… really can’t predict,” Jimenez said.
Traditionally, Mindanao has the highest number of areas placed under Comelec control.
Comelec Resolution No. 10199 stipulates the poll body could take control of areas during an election which have a history or current intense rivalry among contending parties; presence of private armed groups; spread of loose firearms in the hands of unqualified persons; and serious armed threats.
In areas which are placed under its control, Comelec would have direct control and supervision over all local officials and employees with election duties and the police and military personnel deployed to the area.
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