Fresh from filing their Certificates of Candidacy, the contenders for the upcoming synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, slated May 14, filled the Balon Bayambang Events Center to capacity on April 25 to make a pledge to a peaceful, orderly, honest, and drug-free elections.
Organized by the COMELEC, DILG and PNP in coordination with LGU-Bayambang, the event started with a Unity Walk around downtown at 7:30 am, then followed by a mass and blessing of candidates officiated by Rev. Fr. Oscar Roque, the new Asst. Parish Priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish Church.
In his homily, Fr. Roque congratulated the winners in advance and to the non-winners, he advised them using lines from a viral YouTube song by the local hip-hop group, Ex-Battalion: “Sige, sige, sige lang. … Hayaan mo na sila…” It was a loudly applauded move, receiving much laughter. Toward the communion rite, he asked the fierce political rivals to greet each other, “Peace be with you!”
In the program proper, new OIC Chief of Bayambang Municipal Police Station, Col. Fidel Junio, welcomed the officials and candidates in attendance. Among the municipal officials present were Mayor Cezar T. Quiambao and Councilors Mylvin Junio and Martin Terrado.
In his message, Mayor Quiambao appealed to the candidates to observe peace during the course of the election season and, for those who are going to win, to unite and rally behind his administration’s long-term program to make Bayambang a progressive town. “Dapat di mag-away-away.” … “Tigilan natin ang paninira.” … “Huwag tayong gagamit ng dahas, pananakot, at intimidasyon,” he said.
On behalf of MLGOO Romarie Soriano, DILG staff Ruth Cabote led the candidates to make the Covenant Pledge, after which all candidates lined up in front to sign a blown-up copy of the Peace Covenant. The pledge states, among other things, that, “in the interest of the forthcoming [elections], [I] do hereby proclaim in this covenant our respective duties and responsibilities and manifest that I uphold the fundamental principle of democracy and that sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them; I believe that the exercise of suffrage is a solemn act of sovereignty; We bind ourselves to the truth that the ballot is an expression of the sovereign will and is sacred.”
After the program, the candidates subjected themselves to a drug test conducted by the PNP in cooperation with RHU I.