BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Politics is expected to reach a feverish pitch amid soaring temperatures, 18 poll hotspots, and as the dead season enters in this sugar-producing capital of the country.
“I hope there won’t be additional hotspots,” lawyer Roberto Salazar, acting provincial poll registrar told DNX on the eve of the 45-day local campaign period that starts today, 25 March, and ends on 7 May 2022.
The province now has 18 hotspots out of its 32 local government units including this highly-urbanized center.
Under the Red Category are four – Escalante City and Calatrava town in the north, and the interior towns of Moises Padilla and Candoni in the south – also considered as areas of grave concern where there is serious armed threats from private armed groups and a history of election-related incidents.
Under Category orange or area of immediate concern where there is a presence of private armed group that could pose serious armed threat are the cities of Silay, Victorias, Himamaylan, Kabankalan, and Sipalay and the towns of Binalbagan, Manapla, Cauayan, Hinoba-an, Ilog, Isabela, La Castellana and Toboso.
One, Don Salvador Benedicto town, is under category yellow or area of concern where there might be possible reorganization of private armed groups.
Today also marks the second half of the 90-day campaign period for national candidates that started 8 February.
The campaign also opens as the tigkiriwi or “dead season” is expected to start in the local sugar industry.
During this period that comes right after the planting season of sugarcane, work slows down or stops, affecting the livelihood of thousands of workers who depend on the industry for their livelihood.
Too, the campaign kicks off amid the rising heat as announced by State weather bureau PAGASA with the start of the hot and humid climate though local disaster czar Jose Maria Vargas warned against a freak weather.
He said this can be likened to “El Nino in the morning and La Nina in the evening.”
Vargas said hot weather can be expected during the mornings and rains in the evening.
He said candidates out on the campaign trail must take precautions as this could affect their health.