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Officials from NegOcc encourage peaceful elections.

The town of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental, is seeking to hold orderly and peaceful national and local elections this coming May 9 after being placed under the authority of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in 2019 polls.

Moises Padilla, in the fifth district of Negros Occidental, has been classified as a “zone of severe concern” as of Wednesday, owing to the presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) and other armed groups, as well as fierce political competition.

Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo stated during the signing of the peace compact on Tuesday that while this year’s elections are more peaceful than three years ago, the local administration is not relaxing its vigilance.

“We, the candidates, would like to demonstrate to our supporters that our sole purpose is to serve the public.” “Let us avoid fighting because peace should genuinely come from us,” she continued.

In the village of Moises Padilla, several election-related homicides occurred in 2019.

On April 25, that year, Garcia-Yulo, who was vice-mayor at the time, was ambushed after a campaign event, and two of her family members, brother Jose Marcelino “Marc” Garcia and nephew reelectionist Jose Antonio “Michael” Garcia, were killed.

On March 31, reelectionist Councilor Jolomar Hilario was shot and killed at his home by members of the NPA.

The Comelec took control of the municipality a week before the May 6, 2019 elections, and President Rodrigo Duterte paid a visit to Moises Padilla two days later, presided over a security conference with key officials from the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army in Western Visayas.

During the violence that claimed the lives of her two close relatives, Garcia-Yulo believed there was reason to label Moises Padilla as an “area of great concern.”

This, according to the mayor, might be a benefit because the police and soldiers can pay close attention to the municipality and allow the people to vote for their preferred candidate.

Reelectionist councilors Vincent Garcia, Morito Flores, and Jimmiedon Plaza, as well as Vice Mayor Ian Villafor, were among those who attended the signing of the peace pact. They are all currently detained after being charged with the murder of Hilario.

The Moises Padilla Municipal Police Station and the National Bureau of Investigation-Bacolod District Office escorted them.

Moises Padilla is now more peaceful, according to Lt. Col. Melvin Flores, commander of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion, who also urged candidates to support safe and accurate elections by encouraging fair campaigning.

According to Maj. Randy Babor, the municipal commander of police, there have been no election-related violations or violence thus far.

According to him, the signing of the peace treaty will pave the way for peaceful national and local elections in 2022.

“I am confident that the candidates will maintain law and order and will not break the law,” Babor said, adding that the police will uphold their neutrality and enforce the appropriate legislation during the election.

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