Police told to initiate 'peace covenants'
The Philippine National Police on Friday ordered police commanders nationwide to initiate more "peace covenants" in its aim to minimize the possibility of violence in the run-up to the May elections.
PNP Chief Director General Alan Purisima said police officers should not only serve as "crime busters" but peacemakers as well.
"This could be a hard task but this should serve as a test of leadership to all our police commanders to live up to their mandate as peacemakers," Purisima said.
The PNP, the Consortium in Election Reforms-Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms (CER-IPER), together with the Commission on Elections, the Armed Forces of the Philippines led a peace covenant signing on Tuesday among candidates vying for regional and provincial elective positions in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Maguindanao.
The covenant was attended by Pax Mangudadatu, Norkhalila Mea Mambuay, representative of Mujiv Hataman, and Abdulaziz Amenoden, representative of Prof. Nur Misuari. Mangudadatu, Hataman and Misuari are vying for the post of ARMM governor.
Also in attendance were gubernatorial aspirants for the province of Maguindanao Esmael "Toto" Mangudadatu and Tucao Mastura.
The candidates committed themselves and their supporters to help in the conduct for a peaceful and clean elections.
"If other police commanders were able to successfully bring together rival politicians to assure secure and fair elections, I do not see any reason why our other commanders cannot do it," Purisima added.
The ARMM peace covenant was only one in a series of "peace agreements" initiated by the PNP, which also held a covenant signing among rival politicians in Abra last Feb. 9.
The signing was held in the Diocese of Bangued and witnessed by Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian.
The PNP and Comelec had placed Abra as one in the 15 provinces as declared high risk areas.
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