AS THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is gearing up for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections this May 14, village leaders and aspirants are also getting ready for the campaign period.
Local officials and political parties, however, are reminded to remain neutral in the village and youth polls, meaning they cannot attend campaign sorties of aspirants or give donations to the candidates.
This is because candidates are prohibited from aligning with incumbent officials and political parties.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. warned on April 10 the local chief executives in the province to stay non-partisan in the forthcoming Barangay and SK polls.
The governor reiterated that endorsing any candidate for the May 14 village and youth elections is unlawful and any mayor who does it could be reported to the Comelec.
Marañon made the warning following the reports that there are some mayors who reportedly raises the hands of certain candidates, which is an indication of endorsement.
Further, the governor urged the candidates to refrain from personal attacks and violence to make the elections peaceful.
The Barangay and SK elections are actually hotly-contested as it is a clash between neighbors within the community.
Provincial Comelec supervisor Jessie Suarez also appealed to the candidates to make the electoral process peaceful.
The poll body, as well as the police and the army, has yet to determine if there are areas in Negros Occidental that could be considered as election hotspots.
While the law enforcers are optimistic there would be no widespread violence in the village and youth elections due to non-partisanship, they don’t discount the possibility that feuds could erupt into aggression.
For the part of the electorate, they should not forget their responsibility in maintaining peace and order.