MANILA -- A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official said Thursday the purpose of placing the entire Mindanao Island under Category Red is for the national government to be ready for any untoward incident that may arise before the May 13 mid-term polls.
“By placing all of Mindanao under Category Red, the Comelec simply seeks to ensure utmost responsiveness to whatever need may arise,” Comelec spokesperson, James Jimenez, said in a statement.
Jimenez, however, noted that though other places in the region are relatively peaceful, the Comelec is not sure if these areas would not be affected by any election-related conflict that could erupt.
“The inescapable reality is that election-related violent incidents respect no municipal borders; and that the activities of armed groups and terror organizations are not always clearly demarcated,” he said.
Jimenez, nonetheless, assured the people that the Comelec will remain impartial, shrugging off concerns that such announcement might lead to partisanship.
“With regard to the apprehension that this declaration might lead to partisanship by the Comelec, the election management body reassures the public that this will not happen,” he said.
“The results reporting procedures of the automated election system are fully transparent and protected by multiple redundancies which, by and large, have been proven successful in preventing cheating in the last three automated elections -- 2010, 2013, and 2016,” he added.
On Tuesday, the Comelec declared the entire Mindanao; the entire province of Abra; Jones, Isabela; and Lope de Vega in Northern Samar as election hotspots.
The Comelec said the decision was based on the suspected poll-related violent events in two previous electoral exercises, as well as threats from insurgent groups. (PNA)
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