Why Ilocos Sur is election area of concern despite huge number of unopposed candidates

VIGAN CITY, April 24 (PIA) — Ilocos Sur has the biggest number of unopposed mayoral candidates in the Ilocos Region. Despite this, the Commission on Elections has placed the province under area of concern due to previous election-related incidents.

Police Supt. Marlo Castillo, Ilocos Sur police provincial office spokesman, said Ilocos Sur remains an area of concern due to incidents of election-related shootings in the previous elections from 2001 to 2010. The shootings occurred in the towns of Cervantes and Cabugao.

Castillo, however, predicted a peaceful election in May where 18 candidates running for mayor out of the 32 Ilocos Sur towns and two cities have no opponents. Most unopposed candidates are relatives of outgoing Ilocos Sur Governor Chavit Singson.

The unopposed candidates are Eva Marie Medina of Vigan City, Dr. Ericson Singson of Candon City, Mar Ruel Sumabat of Alilem, Sammy Boy Parilla of Bantay, Germelina Goulart (Governor Chavit Singson’s sister) of Caoayan, Benjamin Maggay of Cervantes, Jessie Balingsat of Galimuyod, Clifford Patil-ao of Quirino, Leopoldo Gironella Jr. of Salcedo, Chester Elaydo of San Esteban, JJ Bueno of Santa, Mark Purisima of San Ildefonso, Teresita Valle of Sta. Cruz, Joseph Tabanda III of San Vicente, Amado Tadena of Sto. Domingo, Josefino Miranda of Santiago, Aries Gaerlan of Sigay and Fernando Quiton of Sugpon.

All candidates from mayoral, vice mayoral down to councilors are running unopposed in Candon and in San Vicente.

There is no let-up in the PNP’s Oplan Katok either as the campaign for gun holders to surrender their unlicensed firearms has reached 90 percent compliance since the election period began.

The PNP said all guns surrendered to the police for safekeeping will be released upon renewal of gun licenses.

Other provinces which were tagged as areas of concern include Abra, Pangasinan, Cagayan, La Union, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Cavite, Masbate, Samar, Misamis Occidental, Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan. (MCA/FGL PIA – 1/Ilocos Sur)

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