CABANATUAN CITY – Reelectionist Gov. Aurelio Umali and his political rival, outgoing Rep. Josie Manuel-Joson signed on Tuesday a covenant for peaceful elections in the province, one of the 15 poll hot spots. Both candidates released a white dove signifying peace. Umali said the event is good for the province that was once associated with political violence.
Umali and Joson led provincial and city bets in the peace signing at the Benigno Aquino Freedom Park, highlighted by a prayer rally and a unity walk to pledge their full commitment to the holding of a Secure and Fair Elections in May.
Also at the covenant signing were Cabanatuan Mayor Julius Caesar Vergara and his rival, Board Member Emmanuel Antonio Umali, younger brother of the governor. They took part in a multi-faith peace forum sponsored by the Church and other religious leaders, the police, the Commission on Elections, the military, the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Education and Culture.
Also witnessing the historic peace pact-signing were several local and barangay officials, including, Gapan city mayor Christian U. Tinio, Llanera Mayor Lorna Mae Vero and Munoz Science city vice mayor Ester Lazaro.
“This is our dream. This is a good scenario,” said Rev. Sofronio A. Bancud, Bishop of the Diocese of Cabanatuan and chairperson of the Nueva Ecija Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
Prior to the affair, a unity walk was simultaneously launched by different groups in four different take-off points within the city, to symbolize the province’s four districts, and which subsequently converged in the main road leading to the Freedom park, led by Gov. Umali along Mabini street and Vergara and Joson, along Zulueta street.