By Roi Lomotan
NEGROS ORIENTAL, Mar. 4 (PIA) – Candidates for electoral posts in the province expressed their support for a peaceful election by signing a peace covenant in the presence of leaders of religious sector, law enforcement officers, youth, and the media.
The signing of the peace covenant culminated the Walk for CHAMP event held March 3 in Dumaguete City.
The event was organized by the Diocesan Electoral Board (DEB) of the Diocese of Dumaguete to promote the cause of Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful (CHAMP) elections.
The Walk for Champ began at 4:00 p.m. from Silliman Portal West to Perdices St. turning to Real St. then going to the Freedom Park where an interfaith prayer was held and followed by the covenant signing.
Participants were members of the DEB, COMELEC officers, officers from the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army, students from different schools and representatives from St. Joseph Seminary College and the media.
Present during the event were Governor Roel Degamo who is seeking re-election along with Board Members Liland Estacion and Erwin Macias who are running for vice-governor and 2nd district representative, respectively, and other members of his party.
Also present were Rep. George Arnaiz who is running for governor, Vice Governor Mark Macias who is also seeking for re-election, and Dumaguete City Mayor Manuel Sagarbarria who is running for a congressional seat.
Several other candidates vying for top positions in other cities and municipalities in the province also attended the event.
In his message before the covenant signing, Atty. Lionel Marco Castellano called on different stakeholders to work together for a peaceful and orderly elections.
Atty. Castellano also led candidates in reciting the pledge of commitment for a peaceful election before the signing of the peace covenant.
All candidates vowed to abide by the peace and lawful conduct of their campaign and avoid use of force or any kind of intimidation.
Negros Oriental has been included in the list of top election watchlist provinces in the Philippines.
On the other hand, Bishop Julito Cortes of the Diocese of Dumaguete reminded the public that each sector has a role to play to achieve CHAMP elections.
“God has given us another opportunity for social and political change in the coming election. To achieve the CHAMP, this is a responsibility not only for the COMELEC, PNP, the Armed Forces, the candidates but the responsibility for all of us,” Bishop Cortes said.
He also noted that leadership is a call to serve and people are in need of servant leaders who are competent and compassionate to the plight of the poor.
By the end of his speech, he thanked everyone for participating in the event and expressed his hope that the province will have a CHAMP election this year. (rmn/ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA website on Mar. 4, 2016)