28 Cagayan Valley towns, cities on poll watchlist

>> Friday, February 26, 2016

By Victor Martin

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya – Twenty-five towns and three cities in Cagayan Valley are on the election watchlist, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Wednesday.
The regional election monitoring center has identified the municipalities of Alcala, Buguey, Gattaran, Gonzaga, Solana, Pamplona, Tuao, Lazam, Rizal and Tuguegarao City in Cagayan among the areas considered as ”areas of concern.”
The towns of Alicia, Burgos, Delfin Albano, Echague, Gamu, Luna, Ramon, Roxas, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Mariano, Jones, Naguilian, Maconacon, Palanan and Dinapigue as well as the cities of Santiago and Ilagan in Isabela are also on the list. 
Chief Insp. Chivalier Irringan, Cagayan Valley police information officer, said the areas are being monitored for political rivalry, the presence of armed groups and loose firearms.
“The PNP’s election watchlist was based on reports… We have yet to identify which town will be considered immediate and grave areas of concern,” Irringan said. 
On Feb. 7, a grenade explosion hit the house of a mayoral candidate in Jones town while barangay chairman Nestor Medina of Echague town was killed in an ambush on Feb. 9.
Special task group
PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said a special operations task group would be deployed in areas considered as poll hotspots.
During a visit to Pangasinan on Sunday, Marquez said the task group would be “over and above the existing resources” of the provincial police office.
Marquez had a meeting with Pangasinan police officer-in-charge Senior Superintendent Edgar Alan Okubo, the chiefs of police of the 44 Pangasinan towns and Senior Superintendent Marlou Chan, Ilocos region police deputy regional director for administration.
Marquez said Chan would head the special task group in the region.
Twenty of 48 towns and cities in Pangasinan are on the poll watchlist.

Marquez said he is leaving it up to police chiefs to decide whether to set up additional checkpoints.


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