EWAs list out after filing of candidacies

By Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The elections supervisor of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Negros Occidental said they will wait for the formal filing of certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections before releasing a complete and updated list of Election Watchlist Areas (EWAs) in the province.

Atty. Ian Lee Ananoria said the filing of COCs is on August 28 to September 2.

Ananoria pointed out that the list of 17 local government units (LGUs) in Negros Occidental that are eyed as EWAs that was released during the 1st quarter Visayas Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center meeting in Cebu last Wednesday was probably due to their history of insurgencies.

It is also possible that the list will be compiled prior to the campaign period and once the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) is formed.

Earlier, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) VISCOM commander Lt. General Benedict Arevalo identified 17 LGUs in Negros Occidental that could probably be tagged as EWAs.

The 17 LGUs include Don Salvador Benedicto town which was tagged as an “area of concern,” followed by the cities of Silay, Victorias, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, Sipalay, and the towns of Toboso, Binalbagan, Isabela, La Castellana, Calatrava, Ilog and Cauayan as “areas of immediate concern.”

The towns of Candoni, Moises Padilla, and the city of Escalante were identified as “areas of grave concern.”

Arevalo added that the list of LGUs is just the initial and they will reassess and validate the areas prior to the October polls.