BARMM lists 984 ‘areas of grave concern’ for BSKE

By Edwin Fernandez

September 22, 2023, 2:01 pm

<p>Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, BARMM police regional director. <em>(PRO-BARMM file photo)</em></p>

Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, BARMM police regional director. (PRO-BARMM file photo)

COTABATO CITY – Police in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have classified 984 out of 2,590 villages in the region as “areas of grave concern” (red code) for the Oct. 30 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE 2023).

In an interview on Friday, Brig. Gen. Allan Nobleza, BARMM police director, said 284 other barangays are under the orange category or “areas of immediate concern.”

The Police Regional Office-BARMM has earlier classified 32 towns in the region as “areas of grave concern” due to intense political rivalry among local aspirants, the presence of private armed groups, local terrorist groups, and have history of political violence.

“The list may change as the elections draw near; our evaluation and assessment are ongoing,” Nobleza said.

Over the past three weeks, PRO-BARMM listed at least election gun ban violators in the provinces of Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Marawi, Lamitan and the 63 villages in North Cotabato.

Three election-related violence have been recorded and all took place in Lanao del Sur.

Ten aspirants for village positions were also victims of gun attacks, mostly in Maguindanao del Sur and Maguindanao del Norte, but police have yet to determine if these were poll-related.

Meanwhile, Nobleza said he also requested the Philippine National Police headquarters for a 700-man argumentation force that would be deployed in Lanao del Sur and the SGA villages.

In addition, he said the Maguindanao del Sur peace and order council has also requested the Commission on Elections to field police personnel from the neighboring Soccsksargen Region to serve as an electoral board in the province.

This, he said, forms part of backup plans should teachers are unable to serve as members of the election board for the BSKE.

Nevertheless, Nobleza bared that more than 2,000 police officers have earlier been trained to serve as election precinct workers in case teachers refuse or a breakdown in peace and order prevents them from serving on election day. (PNA)