Barangay Election Candidates sign peace covenant; commit to observe good governance

COTABATO City (October 31, 2013) – The candidates for 37 Barangays of  Cotabato City with their supporters   signed a peace covenant last October 26, 2013, two days before the election, at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) Gymnasium, Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City.

Under the project entitled “Prevention of Election- Related Violence during Barangay election 2013 in Cotabato City,” the Cotabato City Coalition for Change (4C’s), a coalition organized by the Security Sector and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s), took the lead in organizing the said activity with support from the The Asia Foundation (TAF) and Australia Agency for International Development (AUSAID).

Yusoph Lumambas, focal person of United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) to the 4Cs, explained that this project is aimed at mitigating potential cases of election related violence and to sustain and strengthen linkages, cooperation and collaboration among civil society organizations, line agencies, security sector and community members for electoral reform.

Lumambas, also the Secretary General of the UNYPAD, in his message, encouraged the future winning candidates to pursue good governance and challenged them to do things geared towards recovering the lost good image of Cotabato City.

“Admittedly, the objectives of the coalition are not that easy to achieve,” he stressed.

“Transformation and reformation can’t be achieved overnight; it will take long time and there must be cooperative and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders to achieve it even beyond election period,” he elaborated.

Fr. David Procalla, Mindanao Coordinator of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), reminded the candidates about Comelec resolutions which include the vote buying and other irregularities.

“Sana yung magka-dugo ay hindi madugo during and after election at sana magmamahalan,” he said.

“Alam nating lahat sa bawat parte ng katawan ng isang tao ay nagkakahalaga ng mamahalin at milyun-milyon, pero nakakalungkot ang katotohanan dahil kaya parin natin patayin ang kamag anak natin ng kakaunting halaga lamang,” Fr. Procalla lamented.

 “Sana iwasan na natin ito na mangyari pa, at sana hindi na tayo maturingan na ‘the cheating capital region’ at matatawag na tayo in the future na ‘the former cheating capital region, he furthered.

Major Datu Jimmy Matalam, Ex-O CMO Battalion 6ID, gave an advice to all candidates to accept whatever the result of election and encouraged also the candidates who will win to pursue good governance for the benefits of the communities.

The Ex-O Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, Major Danilo T. Facundo, assured the public to protect everybody/everything from harm.

 “We assure you that all paraphernalia will be secured and all votes will be counted accurately.”

PSSupt. Rollen Balquin, PESE City Director of Cotabato City Police Office, appealed to the candidates to give chance for people to vote freely.

“You know, candidates, the problems are arising from our own selves and the solutions must also be coming from ourselves,” he said.

“Your signature in the Peace Covenant is not your own credit but an indication of your commitment,” he further said.

Russam Mabang, Cotabato City Comelec Assistant, encouraged the candidates to strictly follow the Comelec resolution.

The last part of the program was the message of support of Christopher Horwood, Non Violent Peace Force (NPP) Project Manager and closing remark of Abdul Maguid Andong, Co-Chairman for CSOs. (UNYPAD News)