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Comelec eyes some Negros Occidental towns as election areas of concern

Several towns in Negros Occidental are being eyed as possible election areas of concern due to intense political rivalry, presence of private armed groups and communist rebels, election and security officials said Friday.

The Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police and the military are preparing a security plan for certain areas in the province, including the towns of Salvador Benedicto, Isabela, Moises Padilla, EB Magalona and Toboso, Acting Provincial Election Supervisor Salud Milagros Villanueva told reporters.

In the previous elections since 2010, 8 incidents of election-related violence were recorded in the province, five of which were shooting incidents in Sipalay and Escante Cities, Supt. Edel Jose Manzano, Deputy Director for Operations of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office said.

Authorities are also on alert against possible atrocities being planned by communist rebels as the election nears, Col. Benedict Areval of the 303rd Infantry Brigade said.