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In Aurora, a unity walk was held in support of peaceful elections.

Aurora, BALER – On Thursday, some 200 people, including local candidates for the May 9 election, took part in a unity walk to express their desire for a safe, peaceful, and orderly election time.

The signing of a peace compact and a manifesto proclaiming the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) as persona non grata took place simultaneously with the event.

The Aurora Police Provincial Office (APPO), the Philippine Army’s 91st Infantry “Sinagtala” Battalion, religious sectors, and local Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials coordinated the three-in-one event, which aimed to promote peace and order in the province, especially ahead of the upcoming elections.

The attendees were thanked by Col. Julio S. Lizardo, APPO’s provincial director, who noted that their presence demonstrated their earnest desire and hope for secure, accurate, free, and fair elections (S.A.F.E).

“This is comparable to a blood contract in that both parties must adhere to the terms of the agreement regardless of the circumstances. By signing the covenant, candidates also agree to refrain from any actions that might jeopardize the sanctity of the ballot box; to promote a safe, clean, healthy, and wholesome environment during the campaign season; to respect life, and to obey the majority’s decision and all duly-constituted authorities. After all, we just have one goal in mind: to help our fellow citizens. During the event, Lizardo stated, “This does not demand violence.”

“It is past time to condemn CTG presence and criminal deeds in the province, as they pose a threat to the peaceful and orderly conduct of national and local elections in May 2022,” he added.

He also asked all candidates to disclose the existence of the rebels as soon as possible in case they try to use money as a safe campaign pass.

“Let us remember that providing them with any assistance in the advancement of their criminal conduct is punishable under the 2020 Anti-Terrorism Act. Let us all walk the path of peace to achieve our shared and high aspirations for our dear country and people,” Lizardo said.

The commander of 91IB, Lt. Col. Reandrew P. Rubio, has pledged his complete cooperation to all responsible agencies in order to ensure secure and peaceful elections.

“These national and local elections present us with two major challenges. One is to exercise our right to vote and to guarantee that elections are conducted in a fair and orderly manner. That is why, in collaboration with the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Coast Guard, we are conducting many checks, patrols, and security operations,” Rubio added.

He also praised all political candidates, people’s groups, concerned agencies, stakeholders, and journalists who signed the manifesto criticizing the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Chris Ian M. Silva, the Comelec provincial election supervisor, congratulated the private sector participants for their efforts in ensuring calm and orderly elections.

“Today is only the beginning of our daily activities, and I am grateful that we will all be working for the same objective.” Thank you for your time and work, everyone. “Relax, my office is fully capable in our multi-sectoral campaign for fair, clean, and peaceful elections,” Silva stated.

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