Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sulu politicians sign peace covenant; vow peaceful electionsd

Lakas-Kampi candidate Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, who is seeking reelection, flashes a thumb-up sign while opposition leader anformer governor Benjamin Loong, of the NPC, smiles after the signing Sunday, March 21, 2010 of a peace covenant at the Notre Dame College in Jolo town in Sulu province.Local politicians have pledged to support the government’s campaign for peace, orderly and honest elections in the May national polls. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

SULU, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 21, 2010) – Local politicians have signed Sunday a peace covenant and pledged to support the government’s campaign for peace, orderly and honest elections.

Some 300 people witnessed the signing of the so-called “Covenant for Hope Sulu 2010” initiated by civil society, religious and various organizations, including the police and military.

Those who led the signing were Sulu Governor Sakur Tan, who is running again and former governor Benjamin Loong, now running for vice governor and their party members.

Notably absent was Sulu Representative Munir Arbison, now on his third and last term and is running against Tan, the government’s candidate for the May national polls. And so was former rebel chieftain Nur Misuari, who twice ran and lost in previous gubernatorial elections.

Both Tan and Loong said they are supporting government calls for honest and clean elections. “We have been advocating for clean, honest and orderly elections. We are peaceful in Sulu,” Tan told reporters after the covenant signing.

Tan was applauded many times by those who attended the signing when he introduced his line up, mostly incumbent mayors and their deputies.
For Loong’s part, he also pledged to abide by the covenant. “We will abide by the covenant for peaceful elections,” he said.

Commission on Election’s Vidsfar Julie said poll workers will remain apolitical. “We will remain neutral and apolitical in the coming elections and I hope the politicians will also make true their promises for honest and peaceful elections,” he said.

Sulu military chief Brigadier General Rustico Guerrero said the signing of the covenant is a step forward to ensure peaceful elections in the province, one of five under the Muslim autonomous region.

“We are working side by side with all sectors because we are also for peaceful and orderly elections. We will also remain neutral and non-partisan,” he said.

Those who attended the signing of the covenant were Catholic priests Jose Ante and Romeo Villanueva; regional military commander Lieutenant General Benjamin Dolorfino, of the Western Mindanao Command, Doctor Hannbal Bara, of the Sulu People’s Congress, Sulu provincial police commander Senior Superintendent Joseph Ramac.

And also Doctor Sahie Udjah, of the Ulangig Mindanao, Inc. and Farida Hadjulani, of the Sulu Tanjuh Organization, and Father Emmanuel Sison, of the Notre Dame of Jolo College. (Mindanao Examiner)

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