BACOLOD CITY, (PNA) — The Philippine Army in Negros Occidental is closely monitoring the movements of the New People’s Army (NPA) in relation to the October 28 barangay elections.
Col. Jon Aying, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said they have received reports that the NPA may extort money from candidates to allow them to campaign in the supposedly rebel-controlled areas.
Aying said he has organized a “Bayanihan Team” tasked to penetrate rebel-influenced areas especially in the hinterland villages.
The Philippine Army had earlier classified 90 barangays located in the first, fifth and sixth districts in Negros Occidental as election hotspots.
Twenty of the barangays are considered “highly affected” by rebels.
“As the election draws near, we will intensify our operations in these areas so that the people will not be fooled by the ‘false promises’ of the rebels,” Aying said.
The Commission on Elections here will conduct a Joint Security Coordinating Council Meeting on Sept. 28 with the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in preparation for the barangay elections.