So what if Davao City has “very hot” areas of concern in polls?
Police have identified 19 precincts where it is believed to be “areas of immediate concern” or in the good old days the so-called “election” hots pots. Aside from the history of election violence in the areas , one of the major reasons is the presence of the New Peoples’ Army.
Read the Mindanao Times report here. The report, however, did not identify the “identified” areas.
What is the meaning of an “area of concern” –what does that present to the electorate?It is actually a Commission on Elections mechanism to identify which areas need augmentation of security personnel. So as the areas are identified, expect more police heads in the area and army back up – as Ms. Rizalene Acac’s story said.
So what? Violence is really an election concern because people are afraid to go out when there is an atmosphere of fear.
Some candidates even threaten or spread rumors of violence so that supporters of other parties will not go out and vote on election day, but carefully advising their own supporters to proceed to the precincts and cast their votes.
That’s because some candidates maintained private armies despite COMELEC resolutions against it.
Its not only cheating in the counting that is threatening our dream for fair, clean and honest elections. It is also this problem —violence against votes.
So more than just declaring areas of concern, I think there should be a deeper look at how to approach this –involving the citizens themselves.
By that I don’t mean peace covenants only printed on sheets of papers signed by politicians days before polling day.
For sure we need a mechanism involving the widest sectors representing even the smallest of voices that does not reactivate only during election period.