REGION 6 BETS JOIN UNITY WALK, COVENANT SIGNING FOR CLEAN POLLS
INTEGRITY PLEDGE. Aspiring candidates in the 2019 midterm elections from the city and province of Iloilo sign the Integrity Pledge at the Iloilo City grandstand on Sunday, Jan. 13, 2019. (Photo courtesy of ICPO Serbisyo Publiko)
ILOILO CITY -- Western Visayas (Region 6) joined the entire nation in raising awareness for orderly, honest, peaceful and credible mid-term elections this year through a unity walk, interfaith rally and covenant signing held at the Iloilo City Grandstand on Sunday (January 13).
The event gathered hundreds of candidates gunning for various posts in the coming May elections from the city and province of Iloilo, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other stakeholders.
They started with a unity walk from the Iloilo Provincial Capitol grounds towards the new grandstand, passing by Muelle Loney Street.
Chief Supt. John C. Bulalacao, Police Regional Office (PRO 6) Director, in his message read by Senior Supt. Remus Zacharias Canieso, Deputy Regional Director for Operation (DRDO), said they looked forward to a secure, fair and peaceful election as interested parties inked their signatures to the covenant.
“We, the PNP, together with the Comelec and other stakeholders pursue this peace covenant as part of our unwavering call that our elections will be as peaceful as can be and that every citizen exercises his right to choose our nation’s leaders without fear,” he added.
He called on candidates to be true to their pledge and bear in mind that “this election is not for you; this is for your constituents.”
“The covenant means that you are committed to preserving every voter’s right to choose and that you respect your fellow candidates. After all, all of you aspire to continue to serve,” he stressed.
Maj. Gen. Dinoh A. Dolina, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, in his message read by 3ID 301st Infantry Brigade commander Col. Alberto Desoyo, said the occasion is significant because “in front of the people we sign our pledge to do our part this coming election”.
“I am asking everyone to be sincere in taking today’s covenant. Without sincerity, all of this will be in vain. The unity walk and the covenant signing would just be a waste of time, money and energy,” he said.
Ma. Calpiza Sardua, Department of the Interior and Local Government assistant regional director in Western Visayas, appealed for “sobriety and calmness for this 2019 event”.
“After all, we only have one intention and that is to serve our people. That doesn’t necessitate violence, cheating,” she said.
Sardua revealed that they have conducted voters' education activities as early as last year.
In the covenant or integrity pledge, candidates committed not to “employ any form of violence, force or threat that may impair, impede or unduly influence the exercise of the people’s right of suffrage”.
They also pledged the “prompt and accurate reporting and disclosure of campaign-related expenses” and “will not give bribes or gifts to corrupt the integrity of our democratic process”.
The candidates also committed to fight discrimination in all forms, promote gender sensitivity and not tolerate any form of violence against women in politics.
Apart from the unity walk and covenant signing, the PNP, AFP and the Comelec also held a ceremonial kickoff of the conduct of Comelec checkpoint in various municipalities in Western Visayas at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.
Today, January 13, is the start of the election period. (PNA)