Press Release
January 26, 2010


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on the country's law enforcement agencies to take seriously the task of ensuring the conduct of calm and peaceful May elections.

"The army and police forces should keep a tight watch on areas tagged as 'election hotspots' to ensure that violence or untoward incidents would not endanger lives of innocent and defenseless civilians," Angara stressed.

Angara issued the statement in light of the increasing number of killings and violence believed to be politically motivated. "The number of election-related violence cases continues to rise and as the elections draw near, poll-related crimes are expected to increase", he warned.

The Commission on Elections earlier identified nine provinces as election hotspots: Maguindanao, Abra, Nueva Ecija, Masbate, Sulu, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Basilan and Samar.

According to Bantay-Eleksyon's data, there were 14 incidents of election-related violence in the first half of 2009 alone. The National Security Council, meanwhile, is looking at some 170 private armed groups that had to be dismantled before the general elections.

Of the 170 private armies, 77 had been identified in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao alone.

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