As the 2019 election gun ban officially starts on Sunday, January 13, the Police Regional Office 11 (PRO11) revealed that so far, there is no election hotspot in the region. However, the office will place 43 areas in the region under the Election Watchlist Areas (EWAs).
“We will be placing these areas under the EWAs if there will be a series of insurgency-related criminal activities prior and during the election period,” Chief Inspector Jason Baria said on Wednesday during the AFP-PNP press conference at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.
PRO11 will be placing these EWAs under four categories.
Category 1 are areas where politically-motivated violent incidents are likely to occur due to intense partisan and political rivalries.
Under Category 1 are the municipalities of Malalag, Hagonoy and Padada in Davao del Sur.
Category 2 are barangays, towns, and cities where serious armed threats posed by organized groups such as the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) exist.
Under the Category 2 are the districts of Toril, Tugbok, Marilog, Baguio, Calinan, Paquibato and Buhangin of Davao City, municipalities of Kiblawan, Magsaysay and Matanao of Davao del Sur, municipalities of Jose Abad Santos and Malita of Davao Occidental, municipalities of Tagum, Panabo, Asuncion, Carmen, Kapalong, New Corella, San Isidro and Talaingod of Davao del Norte, municipalities of Mati, Lupon, Banaybanay, Gov. Generoso, Taragona and Manay of Davao Oriental, and municipalities Compostela, Laak, Mabini, Maco, Maragusan, Mawab, Monkayo, Montevista, Nabunturan, New Bataan and Pantukan of Compostela Valley (soon to be Davao de Oro).
Category 3 are the barangays, towns, and cities where both elements of Category 1 and Category 2 are present. Areas under this category are the municipalities Sta. Cruz, Digos and Bansalan of Davao del Sur.
Category 4 are areas where the Commission on Election (COMELEC) may place under its immediate and direct control and supervision any political divisions, subdivisions, units or areas which has all the factors in categories 1 to 3 and have history of current intense rivalry among the contending parties which could motivate people to engage in violent acts. No areas in the region fall on this category.
Baria said that PRO11 will intensify its operation against uniform and civilians who will violate the gun ban.
“This will be intensified, unlike in the Martial Law implementation,” he said.
According to COMELEC, the gun ban will end on June 12, Independence Day.