Emano no-show in unity walk, peace covenant signing-A A +A
Friday, March 8, 2013
CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano, who is seeking reelection in the May elections, was a no-show in Friday morning’s Unity Walk and Peace Covenant signing at the Kiosko Kagawasan in Divisoria.
Vice Mayor Caesar Ian Acenas, who is also seeking reelection, said Emano has “important visitors to attend to.”
Emano’s staunch rival in the mayoralty seat, incumbent Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, failed to join the unity walk but arrived and signed the covenant after guesting in a local morning television program.
Businessman and philanthropist Elmer Francisco, the only mayoralty candidate who joined in the unity walk, challenged the other candidates who failed to attend not to undervalue the signing of the covenant.
“Pinaka-importante kasi sa lahat if we want to lead, we should live by example,” Francisco said.
He said if one candidate cannot give importance to such activity, “how much more of other equally important things and priorities?”
“Sincerity will be questioned here,” he added.
Representative Jose Benjamin Benaldo (1st district, Misamis Oriental) also failed to join Friday’s event.
The unity walk and covenant signing aims to achieve secure, credible, honest and peaceful national and local elections. It was spearheaded by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Cagayan de Oro in collaboration with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, the National Citizen’s Movement for Free Election, and other social organizations for good governance.
Acenas said the peace covenant and unity walk were a call of the Comelec that political candidates should respond.
He hopes that what has been started on Friday will continue until the election, adding the “city has always been holding peaceful elections even during the past years.”
“This is a very good move and initiative by the Comelec. And I hope unity among candidates will continue even beyond the elections,” Acenas told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.
Vice mayoralty candidate Edgar Cabanlas also said the unity walk only shows that everybody, despite political differences, is united.
“At least, gipakita nga managhigala man ang tanan. Friendship remains and politics are just temporary. It can be called as a get-together for all candidates,” Cabanlas said.
Under the covenant, the parties agreed and commit themselves to be catalysts of reformation and transformation for a better society.
The peace covenant also urges them to promise not to resort to vote-buying or any forms of violence.
Comelec city election officer Aleli Ramirez said the peace covenant signing is an activity and gathering of local candidates who express their willingness to cooperate for an orderly peaceful and fair conduct of this year’s elections.
Ramirez said the covenant that the candidates signed indicated their willingness to uphold and follow the regulations imposed by Comelec for a peaceful poll.
She appealed to the candidates to remember what they have signed in the peace covenant, observe campaign conditions and ensure a fair, honest, peace and clean elections in the city.
City Councilor Dante Pajo said the signing of the peace covenant is in need not only for the candidates but for everybody.
“Remember, we are signing the covenant so I hope we will put this into reality and live it until the last day of the election. We should lead by example because if we are not, then who?” Pajo said.
Representative Rufus B. Rodriguez (second district) lauded the Comelec, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PNP for organizing the event.
Rodriguez said he is thankful that Cagayan de Oro always has peaceful elections and will continue to be peaceful.
“Our signing would show that all the candidates are committed that we have a peaceful, honest and clean election in Cagayan de Oro,” he said.
Friday’s activity ended with the symbolic release of two white doves by Ramirez and PNP-Northern Mindanao Director Catalino Rodriguez.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 09, 2013.