Army recommends 55 villages as EWAS

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) has recommended 55 barangays in Negros Occidental as Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS) in this year’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, 303rd IBde commander, said yesterday that these villages are fewer than the 101 EWAS identified in the previous BSKE.

He, however, did not reveal the barangays, pending approval by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Edralin said that some of the parameters to declare a barangay as EWAS include heightened political rivalry, the presence or threat of the New People’s Army (NPA), and availability of the private armed groups (PAGs).

The assessment of these barangays has been discussed by the joint Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), police, intelligence community, and the Comelec, according to Edralin.

Meanwhile, Edralin reiterated his call to barangay officials and candidates to refrain from showing support to the NPA.

“Ini-expect natin na magpaparamdam sila especially during the election period,” he said.

He also said that they have not monitored any persons identified as hitmen entering the province, as they are closely monitoring it.

“Kung may mangyayari man, it is very unfortunate. Kasi, we are closely coordinating with the police para hindi magkaroon ng ganoong criminal incidents,” he added.

The BSKE is scheduled on October 30. A total of 29,640 candidates filed their Certificates of Candidacy (COCs) in the province.