SAN FERNANDO, La Union – The towns of Sudipen and Balaoan in La Union where the mayor and vice mayor were killed were placed under hot spots or election watch list areas (EWAs) by the Philippine National Police along with 36 other towns and cities in Region 1.
Superintendent Mary Crystal Peralta, police information officer of Police Regional Office1, said Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos Norte each have eight EWAs and 14 from Ilocos Sur.
“Most of the town and cities are under category 1 or areas of concern while two from La Union, specifically Sudipen and Balaoan, are placed in category 3 or areas of immediate concern because of the recent incidents of political killings,” Peralta said.
Both Sudipen Mayor Alexander Buquing and Balaoan Vice Mayor Al-Fred Concepcion were killed in an ambush.
Peralta said 11towns in Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte are also under areas of immediate concern due to intense political rivalries.
She said that the list of EWAs and the categorization were based on the validated reports of intelligence community of the police.
Due to the situation, Peralta said augmentation forces from other police units will be deployed in the region
“We are very much open for additional troops as we would like the elections in the region to be safe and secured,” she said.
She said that checkpoints and other police operations have been intensified since the start of election period on Jan. 13, especially in Sudipen and Balaoan in La Union.
“They should not fear checkpoints and should not be mad with it, more so they should not evade checkpoints. Instead, they should cooperate with the police,” Peralta said.
She also urged the citizens to be vigilant and report any untoward or unlikely incidents in their areas. Jun Elias/Northbound Philippines News