BULACAN, Philippines – The provincial and local candidates in the province signed a peace covenant on Saturday, March 23, in Malolos City, with religious groups, police and election officials, and poll watchdogs as witnesses.
The local politicians made the "unity pledge" during the “Unity Walk, Prayer Rally and Signing of Peace Covenant for a Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2013" at the Hiyas ng Bulacan Convention Center.
Among those who signed the covenant to ensure peaceful and honest polls were re-electionist Gov Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, who is running unopposed like his wife, re-electionist 1st District Rep Marivic Sy-Alvarado, and Vice Gov Daniel Fernando.
Rival candidates re-electionist Malolos City Mayor Christian Natividad and former City Mayor Danilo Domingo, as well as re-electionist Meycauayan City Mayor Joaqn Alarilla and challenger former Meycauayan City Vice Mayor Salvador “Bogs” Violago, also signed the covenant.
“This is one way of ensuring the conduct of a clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful elections and at the same time elevating the maturity of the Filipino electorate by holding candidates to a law-abiding campaign based on issues and not personal attacks," said acting Bulacan police chief Sr Supt Joel Orduna, who administered the unity pledge among the candidates.
Orduna is part of the Provincial Joint Security Control Center (PJSCC), which initiated the covenant. The PJSCC is composed of the Parish Pastoral Council, the the Commission on Elections, the provincial government of Bulacan, the Bulacan Police Provincial Office, and the Philippine Army.
Prior to the signing of the peace covenant, leaders of different religious groups led by Rev Danilo Clavio (United Methodist Church), Bro Benny Flores (Catholic Church), Bishop Edilberto Chan (Baptist Church), and Pastor Nicasio Dionisio (Jesus is Lord Movement) prayed for a peaceful, fair, and orderly elections in the province.
Elmo Duque, provincial election supervisor, reminded the candidates to observe the election guidelines. He also urged the voters to choose good leaders whom they believe will serve them well in righteous and honest ways.
“Kapag mabuti ang mga naglilingkod ay umuunlad ang bayan kaya pilin natin ang mga mabubuti at mahuhusay na mga kandidato (Progress comes when good leaders rule, so let us choose the candidates who are good and knows the job),” Roque said. - Rappler.com