MANILA— The Philippine National Police said Tuesday it has begun verifying its list of the country's election hotspots five months ahead of the national polls in May.
PNP Chief Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos said in a statement that the Election Watchlist of Areas (EWA) will assist authorities in the strategic planning of operations to ensure peace and order.
"Predict, Plan, Prepare, Practice, Perform Professionally—that is our thrust in fulfilling our duties of securing (a) peaceful election," Carlos said.
He added that an area's inclusion in the EWA should not be taken against its local government units.
“It gives us ample opportunity to suppress criminality or to take a proactive approach in maintaining peace in the community,” the PNP chief said.
The PNP said its EWA is still subject to change pending the validation of factors such as peace and order in the area, suspected poll-related incidents in previous elections, and history of being put under Commission on Elections control.
Areas are prioritized according to a color-coded category: green for Peaceful, yellow for Areas of Concern, and red for Areas of Grave Concern.
On Monday, Carlos said the PNP was looking at 30 possible election hotspots across the country, including the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). He also mentioned that the police force was working on a deployment plan for the May polls.