Friday, October 15, 2010

Armed Clashes Erupt in Sorsogon’s Election Hotspots

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camsur – Fresh armed clashes erupt between government forces and the NPA terrorist rebels in Sorsogon’s election hotspots, a military official said today.

LtCol Santiago Enginco, Commander of the 49th Infantry Battalion based in Sorsogon said that fresh fighting occurred in Salvacion village, Magallanes town at 8:40am yesterday, October 14 (Thursday).

One NPA bandit, identified as Rex Lagorza, a resident of Juban town, was collared by his soldiers after the 5-minute firefight right in the middle of the village.

Lagorza sustained a minor gunshot wound on his forehead and was immediately treated by the Army medics. He was brought to Magallanes PNP to face criminal charges for illegal possession of firearms.

Enginco said that his troops had engaged the NPA rebels who were campaigning for their favored bets this coming barangay elections. Another fighting occurred in an upland village of Sorsogon City on October 13 (Wednesday).

Army soldiers have intensified its area security patrols as part of its tasking by the COMELEC in preparation to the upcoming local elections. Soldiers also support the manning of checkpoints which is primarily tasked to the PNP.

Army records show that Bicol Region has 70 villages placed as Category 1 and 241 villages as Category 2 of the COMELEC’s tally of election watchlist of areas (EWAS) or “hotspots”.

A Category 1 election ‘hotspot’ refers to areas where there are intense political rivalry and where armed groups supporting various politicians are present. Meanwhile, the presence or influence of the NPA terrorists in certain areas makes them (villages) as Category 2 election “hotspots”.

Masbate tops the list with 69 villages placed as Category 1 and 103 villages as Category 2 ‘hotspots’.

Sorsogon has 61 villages as Category 2 ‘hotspots’ with Gubat town having the most number with 13 followed by Sorsogon City with 10 villages.

The AFP and PNP earned accolades for their successful security operations during the May 2010 elections with the least number of election-related violent incidents (ERVIs) as compared to the 2004 and 2007 elections. The said national election was said to be the most peaceful in Bicol’s election history.

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