Candidates sign peace covenant in Lanao Sur election hotspot

TUGAYA, Lanao del Sur (MindaNews / 17 Feb) – Political rivals and other local candidates joined a peace covenant signing in this traditionally election hotspot last Tuesday.

Samira Gutoc, chair of Ka Zalimbago (a local election watchdog whose name means “for a change”), said that Tugaya was among the hotspots closely watched by the Commission on Elections during the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Candidates from both the administration and opposition parties pledged their support and commitment for the covenant before military, police and election officials. They vowed to avoid violent confrontations among supporters.

Col. Roseller Murillo, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said they are committed to support the Philippines National Police and the COMELEC in ensuring peaceful elections.

“Kailangan panindigan natin ang ating pinanumpaan (We need to stand by our pledges),” he reminded the candidates.

“We will not hesitate to uphold the rule of law,” he added, stressing that they will run after those who break the agreement in the peace covenant.

Ka Zalimbago, Gutoc said, is composed of more than 4,000 members all over the province coming from representatives from radio clubs, religious sector, the Department of Education, COMELEC and various multisectoral organizations.

Gutoc said that in 2013, Tugaya “took a step to maintain peace keeping efforts during the campaign until the new officials were elected and proclaimed.”

She likewise lauded the efforts of the election monitors here during the “No Bio No Boto” campaign during the registration process.