MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 March)– Fifty-three of Bukidnon’s 464 barangays have been classified as “election watchlist areas,” Supt. Narciso Domingo, provincial deputy police director for administration, said Friday.
He said that 48 villages were included in the list because of the alleged presence of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
The Bukidnon Provincial Police Office (BPPO) announced it will deploy for the May 13 elections a total of 635 policemen to secure the province’s 538 polling places, especially those in its watch-list.
Senior Supt. Orlando Beñas, Bukidnon police director, said that communist insurgency remains a pressing concern for the province with at least two rebel fronts operating in the area.
Kitaotao town has the most number of villages under the “election watch-list” at 35, the BPPO said.
San Fernando town followed with nine, including the village of Dao, where tribal leader Jimmy Liguyon was killed on March 5, 2012 allegedly by a paramilitary group.
Quezon town has six villages on the watch-list namely Barangays Sta. Felomina, Linabo, Lipa, Delapa, Kipaypayon, and Sta. Cruz.
In Valencia City, which has 31 barangays, the list includes Barangays Concepcion, Banlag, Laligan, Guinoyuran, Lilingayon, and Lurogan. The last three villages were included due to the “presence of criminal gangs,” the BPPO said.
Five of Pangantucan town’s 19 villages were on the list namely Barangays Adtuyon, Gandingan, New Eden, Portulin, and Mendis.
The town of Impasug-ong has three villages on the watch-list: Buntongan, Sayawan, and Kalabugao.
Two of Malaybalay’s 46 villages were on the watch-list: Dalwangan and Patpat, both along the city highway.
The villages of Canangaan and Mandahican in Cabanglasan, Bugwak and Kapalaran in Dangcagan, Pamotolon and Malinao in Kalilangan, and Magsaysay and Kisawa in Kibawe were also on the watch-list.
Barangay Imbayao in Don Carlos town is also included in the list.
The towns without villages on the watch-list were Baungon, Damulog, Kadingilan, Lantapan, Libona, Malitbog, Manolo Fortich, Maramag, Pangantucan, Sumilao, and Talakag.
In May 2011, not an election year, the NPA rebels raided the police station in Malitbog, resulting to the relief of then Bukidnon police director Senior Supt. Cristito Rey Gonzalodo and Malitbog police chief Insp. Alexander Eugenio for their failure to thwart the attack.(Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)