Troops, stakeholders vow fair, peaceful polls in Tarlac
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2013 - 5:23pm

The military and other stakeholders in Tarlac have vowed to work together to ensure a peaceful and honest elections in the province.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres, chief of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, said a covenant for a Secured and Fair Election 2013 was signed on Wednesday by local officials, candidates and security forces.

The initiative was led by the religious sector, the Commission on Elections, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the Philippine National Police and the military in Tarlac. Representatives of different political parties were present during the covenant signing.

“The signing of the Peace Covenant in Tarlac for SAFE 2013 symbolized the commitment of all Tarlaquenos for a smooth, peaceful and orderly conduct of elections,” Torres said in a statement.

“The military and the police are very optimistic that the candidates and voters alike would see a safe conduct of election this year,” he added.

Brig. Gen. Mario Mendoza, deputy commander of the Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command, gave assurance that the military would remain apolitical during the elections.

For his part, Senior Supt Alfred Corpus, Tarlac police provincial director, cited the need to ensure a violence-free election.

“A people free to choose, will always choose peace. And peace is its own reward,” he said.

Edgardo Mendoza, diocesan lay coordinator of PPCRV, said the candidates play a crucial role in promoting the development of the province.

Lilia Santiago, a division superintendent of the Education department, called for the protection of teachers who will facilitate the voting in precincts.

“Every single ballot will be secured in our hands,” Santiago said.

Signatories of the covenant promised to respect and value life and the sovereign will of the voters. The candidates also vowed to avoid vote-buying activities, fraud, terrorism and other acts that violate the election code.

“More importantly, the candidates, by signing the covenant convey the message to the public that ‘guns, goons, and gold' have no place in the free, democratic and just society where we all belong,” Torres said. 

The covenant also stated that candidates are ready to withdraw candidacy if they fail to deliver on their commitment. – Alexis Romero


 

ALEXIS ROMERO ARMED FORCES NORTHERN LUZON COMMAND EDGARDO MENDOZA ERNESTO TORRES LILIA SANTIAGO MARIO MENDOZA MECHANIZED INFANTRY BATTALION PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL PEACE COVENANT TARLAC
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