because the elections are local, people care who wins: The local officials get in charge of local money: meaning if you are corrupt you can get rich, and if you are honest, you still could be accused of being corrupt if your actions make someone mad.
most of the violence is in the south, but we are a local hotspot here too. NEJ has a list of recent ambushes here. I don't follow politics to know the reason behind these, but locals usually know who did what.
Often the hit men were or still are part of "militant" organizations, e.g. the Muslim groups, or in our area, the NPA, but sometimes they are military or police background (some active, others who had been fired or retired).
The cops and military are out to keep the area safe. The ManilaBulletin reports:
Police and Comelec officials acknowledged that barangay elections are usually the bloodiest since the rivalry is among the neighbors in a particular community wherein some of the issues sometimes turn personal. Based on the PNP data, more than 24 people were already killed since the start of the election period on April 14.
Most of the casualties are incumbent and candidates for barangay elections and their supporters.
the cops have roadblocks to check for guns (and illegal guns).
There is gun control here, of course, ever since Marcos confiscated all weapons... but you can get a permit to carry.
but the dirty little secret is that there are thousands of guns hidden for protection. And most important folks have body guards, and some even "private armies".
Today is also Palenke day, but the banks and gov't offices are closed as a "non working" holiday.
And the polls here are run by local teachers, who also count the ballots. Why teachers? Again, because they are known and trusted.