Victoria candidates sign peace covenant

Candidates vying for elective positions in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro have signed a peace covenant to ensure orderly elections in May.

This came a day after the slain president of the local Association of Barangay Captains in Victoria, Chairman Ricardo Ganad, was laid to rest on February 14.

Signatories to the covenant include two mayoral, two vice mayoral and municipal council candidates. A total of 23 candidates are running for various post in Victoria.

The signing of the agreement, held the Good Shepherd Parish last week, was spearheaded by 203rd Brigade Commander Col. Carlos Quita. About 60 candidates, election officials, church members, soldiers and policemen attended the event.

The peace covenant signing is part of a nationwide initiative of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), the official citizens’ arm of the Commission on Elections in the May 10 polls.

Quita pledged to implement measures needed for a peaceful and clean balloting, like setting up of combined military, police and Comelec checkpoints, strict implementation of the nationwide gun ban and intensified security during the entire election period.

At the same time, he called on all candidates to refrain from paying the so-called permit to campaign of the communist rebels.

Also in attendance at the peace covenant signing were Father Jim Ruga, who represented Bishop Warlito Cajandig of the Apostolic Vicariate of Calapan; Father Norman Cusi, parish priest of the Good Shepherd Parish in Victoria; Victorial Comelec Officer Pauleen Gaud; Lt. Jose Randolf M Sino Cruz, Battalion commander of the 4th Infantry Battalion; and Victoria police chief Senior Inspector Cuenca.

The covenant signing came in the wake of the February 10 killing of Ganad, who was gunned down by two unidentified assassins in what authorities said could be an election-related violence.

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