The Commission on Elections has declared the entire Mindanao Island Group as a Category Red Election Hotspot, for purposes of the 2019 National and Local Elections.
The Mindanao Island Group is joined by other Category Red hotspots Jones, Isabela; Lope de Vega, Northern Samar; and the entire province of Abra.
The Category Red classification may warrant the motu proprio declaration of COMELEC Control over the affected area, and the COMELEC En Banc may direct the augmentation of personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as the need arises. This developed in the wake of suspected election-related incidents in the last two elections, together with serious armed threats posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and/or Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and other analogous groups.
The COMELEC, the PNP and the AFP, identify and classify election hotspots using the following system of classification: Category Green, referring to areas of no security concern and are relatively peaceful and orderly; Category Yellow, referring to areas with a history of election related violence or the existence of intense partisan political rivalry, but without the participation of domestic terror groups; Category Orange, referring to areas where, in addition to conditions that would qualify an area as Category Yellow, there are likewise serious armed threats posed by domestic terror groups and other analogous armed groups; and Category Red, referring to areas where, while being under Category Orange, the relevant government agencies declare the existence of conditions which may constitute grounds for the declaration of COMELEC Control.