TAYUG -- “Let’s adopt Kambing (Goat) Diplomacy to attain a peaceful election. Settle your differences over a bowl of hot pinapaitan.”

These were the piece of advice given by Police Provincial Director Percival Barba to the candidates for mayor and vice mayor here last week when he introduced and launched this innovative and unique way of bringing together political oppositions.

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It coincided with the turnover ceremony and assumption of the new municipal police chief and first election covenant signing candidates for local posts in the province.

Tayug is one of the 15 towns and cities listed under the election watchlist in Pangasinan.

“We have a covenant signing with the hope that the coming elections will be honest, orderly, peaceful. And to compliment this covenant signing, we are introducing the ‘Kambing Diplomacy.’ And the Kambing Diplomacy will be start here in Tayug,” Barba said.

Those who signed the covenant were mayoralty candidates incumbent Mayor Carlos Trece Mapili (Nationalist People’s Coalition), lawyer Magda Erfe (Lakas-Kampi-CMD) and Vicente Abobo (Liberal Party).

Other signees were Vice Mayor Madelyn Ramirez (NPC), who was only able to assume her post this January after a court ruling, Janet Zaragoza (Liberal Party), who dethroned by Ramirez after the court battle, and Patricia Cruz (Erfe's running mate).

The signatories included Barba, Police Chief Ferdinand de Asis, Municipal Election Officer Anacleta Casimiro and Pangasinan Press Club president Allan Sison (as witness).

The candidates and all the people present during the program partook the hot pinapaitang kambing (a popular Ilocano stew or soup composed of innards of goat) and adobo.

“In the Mountain Province and Benguet, they hold canao when celebrating a certain occasion or when settling differences between or among members of their tribe. When we want to present or discuss important matters with our friends, we say let’s discuss it out over a bottle of beer, or over a cup of coffee. This time, why don’t we say, let us discuss or settle things over a bowl of hot pinapaitan,” Barba said.

“We want to change the atmosphere of politics in Pangasinan. I am a person who is not afraid of introducing something new. Everyone should be a sportsman. Politics is sports. Like in boxing, despite the cuts and blood in their faces, the two boxers embrace after the fight, with the loser congratulating the winner,” he further said.

“With the kambing diplomacy,we hope that blood from goats will be shed and not those of our security personnel," Barba added.

As a response, Mayor Mapili challenged his fellow candidates to be sportsman-like.

“I do not eat goat meat but I will gladly share a bowl of pinapaitan with all the candidates. This is not only in support to the Kambing Diplomacy, but also for the sake of a peaceful, orderly and honest election,” said the lady lawyer mayoralty candidate.

Erfe said peaceful election has been elusive in Tayug town but this did not stop her from running for mayor.

“I dared enter the political arena because I do not consider this as a battle ground. I consider this as an avenue to public service, to create significant change. This covenant signing is just an act, it’s opening a door. My challenge to my fellow candidates, let's do it. I guarantee you that no violence of any kind will emanate or start from my group,” she remarked.

Tayug Parish Priest Rev. Father Numeriano Gabot commended Barba for coming up with the Kambing Diplomacy.

“I hope eating papaitan will be a symbol of unity,” he stated.

To the electorate of Tayug, he said they should elect statesmen and not politicians this coming election.

“A statesman runs for office to serve while a politician runs for office to rule, to dominate, to have prestige and power. A statesman wants to give to the people his talents, wisdom, energy, himself. The politician wants to get, to have, to keep, to possess for himself. A statesman thinks of the good of the people now and in the next generation. A politician thinks of his own good, right here, right now and looks ahead only for his own good in the next election,” he said.

He ended his message with a prayer of harmony and peace.