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AFP identifies areas of concern in LDN

ILIGAN CITY —– The Armed Forces of the Philippines has identified the municipalities of Pantar, Tagoloan and Salvador in Lanao del Norte areas of concern.

These towns, according to the military, will be given more attention because of the challenges that have occured in the past and might happen during the election.

"Una, dahil sa mga magkakatunggali na kandidato, hindi nagkaka-unawaan, nagkakaroon ng paninira sa bawat isa at nagri-react sa mga estratehiya ng bawat mga kandidato," Col. Alex Aduca, deputy brigade commander of 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army and commander of Task 
Piniliay, said in an interview after the send off ceremony of troops who will be deployed to secure Iligan City and Lanao del Norte "before, during and after" the election in May 13.

Election-related violence
In April this year, four were hurt in a riot between supporters of two mayoralty bets in Salvador town.

A gunfight occured when supporters of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino mayoralty candidate Bebot Umpa, who came from a campaign sortie, clashed with supporters of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas – Hugpong Ng Pagbabago mayoralty bet Farhanie Ampaso Tawan-tawan, in front of the town hall building.

In 2016, the family of Umpa, who was also running for mayor against the incumbent mayor, who is Tawan-tawan's husband, engaged in gunfight that resulted to the death of Umpa's mother.

In Pantar, incumbent mayor Jabar Tago was accused of masterminding the ambush of former mayor Exchan Limbona in December 2016.

Limbona's brother is one of the nine mayoralty bets for the coming May 13 election, opposing Tago.

Tago and Limbona both ran in the 2016 mayoral race in Pantar but Limbona was declared winner.

Tago had contested the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) declaration of Limbona as winner.

His election protest was still being tackled when Limbona was ambushed. 

Armed group
In Tagoloan, presence of armed group, rido (family and political feud) and constant report of harassment among and against opposing parties were reported.

"Kaya we deployed our troops earlier kasi malaking bagay ito sa mga nais manggulo sa eleksiyon," Aduca said.

Military's intervention
The military, however, intervened by bringing warring candidates together to pacify misunderstanding by making them signed peace covenants.

"Pinag-usapan sa mga covenant signing na ipakita lang ang kanilang plataporma de gobyerno, ang kanilang kakayahan sa pag-serbisyo at hindi ang pananakot at panunuhol sa mga botante," Aduca said.

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