THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) reminded the candidates in Isabela town in Negros Occidental, and their supporters to police their own ranks for a peaceful election on May.
Senior Inspector Roger Pama, town police chief, said the candidates led by re-electionist Mayor Joselito Malabor and his challenger, Irene Montilla, along with the police, poll officials, and Philippine Army signed the integrity pledge during the peace covenant signing at the town's gymnasium Friday.
The nationwide peace covenant signing was held on January 13, but four areas in Negros Occidental with emerging intense political rivalry were directed to conduct separate signing activities to prevent any election-related incidents.
Chief Inspector Edison Garcia, public information officer of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), said the order came from Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, director of Police Regional Office (PRO)-Western Visayas in Iloilo City, based on the Regional Task Group meeting for 2019 midterm election.
Garcia said Toboso town has complied with the order on February 12, same with E.B. Magalona town on February 14 at the Nocppo headquarters in Bacolod City.
At present, there is no schedule set for peace covenant signing of Moises Padilla town yet.
Garcia said these areas were not officially considered as election hotspots since the validation of the authorities is a continuing process.
For his part, Pama said the town is peaceful as the election is approaching.
The activity only shows that the candidates are true to their commitment to support a peaceful election, he added.
In fact, the atmosphere was good when all the candidates met at the venue for the activity, Pama said.
He said the candidates were reminded to never use force or intimidation during the election.
“We always remind them to be fair and honest so that we can have a credible, orderly, and peaceful election,” he said.
Supporters were also advised to never engage in any physical activity like harassment to prevent untoward incidents.