PNP: Private armed groups present in 7 regions

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 30) — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has identified regions where authorities monitored active and potential private armed groups or PAGs ahead of the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls this year.

PNP Chief General Benjamin Acorda on Monday identified the seven regions as Ilocos, Central Luzon, Bicol, Western Visayas, Caraga, Cordillera, and Bangsamoro.

“The PNP is also monitoring continuously the activities of 48 private armed groups wherein three of these groups are active and 45 potential PAGs from Region 1, Region 3, Region 5, Region 6, Region 13, Cordillera Administrative Region, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao,” Acorda said.

The top official said he directed concerned regional directors to intensify efforts against PAGs to ensure that these groups will not be used in illegal activities in connection with the BSKE in October.

According to Acorda, the PNP received reports that some elected government officials and potential candidates are facing security threats ahead of the polls. But he said the threat is not as high compared to previous elections.

“With regards to the threats for some elected officials and some prospective candidates, we do receive these kinds of reports. Appropriate measures are being undertaken,” he said.

If more personal protection is needed, barangay officials and prospective candidates can connect with the PNP Police Security and Protection Group, he added.

The PNP chief also said they are already monitoring some potential hotspots.

“We have some data already based on existing threat assessment and historical data, meron tayo but definitely the official list will come out from Comelec,” Acorda said.