2010 Philippine Election Hotspots

By Ryan Dizon

The Elections in the Philippines is one of the busiest and most controversial national activities that a Filipino can ever experience. It is during this period when a lot of clashing political parties and personalities bring in their well-planned political game. The National Elections is held every 6 years while the local election is held every 3 years. The last National Election was held in 2010. It is within this period wherein a transition of government was made from the 9-year reign of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President and the political parties connected to her.

During the 2010 Elections, the Commission on Elections released a resolution wherein certain areas were put under COMELEC and PNP control. These areas are called Election Hotspots. Election Hotspots are areas in which Partisan Armed Groups are evident or areas in which politically-related accidents or violence is very evident. These areas are put into COMELEC and PNP control to ensure organized and safe elections in these areas.

The grounds for considering an area as a hotspot were promulgated on December 23, 2009 and these are the grounds:

“SECTION 1. Grounds for COMELEC control The Commission may place under its immediate and direct control and supervision, any political division, subdivision, unit or area affected by “serious armed , threats”.

             The term “serious armed threats” shall refer to the presence of paramilitary forces, private armies or identifiable armed bands widely perceived to have committed terrorism, fraud or other election irregularities and threaten or tend to disrupt the holding of free, peaceful, honest, orderly and credible elections in any political division, subdivision, unit or area.

The statement above begs the question: “What were the Election Hotspots during the 2010 elections and what are their corresponding voter turn-out?”

The map indicates the areas that were considered Election Hotspots by the COMELEC. The map also has an inset map which shows the location of areas which passed letter requests and petitions for their areas to be considered as hotspot areas. As mentioned earlier, the presence of Partisan Armed Groups is very important in determining the Election Hotspots; because of this 2 other maps are focused in showing the distribution of Partisan Armed Groups (PAG) in the country. The first map shows the total number of PAG while the second map shows the total number of Active PAG in the country.

The voter turn-out for the Election Hotspots is 72.85% which is lower compared to the national election voter turn-out which is 74.98%. Based on the first map, one can see that the election hotspot areas in the Mindanao Region had a lower voter turn-out compared to National Voter Turn-out. Areas in the Luzon Region has a higher voter turn-out compared to the National Voter Turn-out.


  • to map the 2010 election hotspots (as reported by the POC and COMELEC)
  • to map the Partisan Armed Groups in the country (total number and active)
  • to map the areas which passed petitions and letter requests to consider their areas as Election Hotspots

Data Used

  • attribute data (voter turn-out, Election hotspots)
  • Philippine Provinces shapefile
  • Philippine Regions shapefile
  • Philippine Municipal shapefile

Method of Mapping

For the areas considered as Election Hotspots by the COMELEC, the Philippine Provinces shapefile was used because the areas of concern were on the provincial level. These areas were exported as a different shapefile and then, their corresponding voter turn-out were added into the attribute table of these provinces. A choropleth map was then produced to show the range of the voter turn-out for these areas and to emphasize the distribution of the voter turn-out (distribution above or below the median class in which the National Voter Turn-out belongs).

For the Partisan Armed Groups, the Philippine Regions shapefile was used since the areas of concern were on the regional level. Data on the total number of PAG per region and the active PAG per region were added into the attribute table. After these, a choropleth map was produced to show the variability of the total number of PAG per region and the active PAG per region.

For the inset map showing the distribution of letter requests and petitions, the Philippine Municipalities shapefile was used because the areas of concern were on the municipal level.

Target Audience

                The map is mainly intended for use of the general public. The map is also intended for the COMELEC officials and the PNP because they are the one primarily concerned with the elections and its safety. The map was made in order to give additional information about the Election Hotspots in the country and the related factors connected to it.

Some Words from the Map Maker

                The maps were made in order for the general public and other researchers to know about the Election Hotspots in our country and the process behind it. The map maker wanted to show the range of the voter turn-out in these areas compared to the Median Class which has the National Voter Turn-out class. Cartography is not just the science of making maps but it is the science of making relevant and informative maps so that more people can appreciate cartography and the science behind it.


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