Heads of the two opposing political parties in Bataraza, Board Member Abraham Ibba and Mulsinin Abdurajik, inked a peace covenant on Saturday, April 30 at Rio Tuba town site to ensure the conduct of Secure and Fair Elections (SAFE) in the said municipality on May 9.
Governor Jose Chaves Alvarez and Vice-Governor Victorino Dennis Socrates of the Provincial Government of Palawan, Western Command newly-installed Commander BGen Elvin Hermogino, 3rd Marine Brigade Commander Elvin Velasco and Provincial Police Office Director Benjamin Acorda, Jr., personally facilitated and witnessed the smooth flow of the covenant signing.
Governor Alvarez said that they really pushed the conduct of covenant signing to make sure that that the electoral process in Bataraza will be peaceful and in order.
“Ang paglagda natin dito ay hindi lamang nangangahulugan na isulat natin ang ating kagustuhan dito sa papel, o sa tarpaulin, kundi pinapatunayan natin na dito sa Palawan ay hindi naman tayo puwede magkahiwalay nang matagal,” Alvarez said. (“Our signing here does not only mean that we’re putting on paper, or on tarpaulin, what we wanted, but we’re also proving here that in Palawan we can’t be separated for long,” Alvarez said.)
He further requested both Abdurajik and Ibba to “move on” whatever the results of the elections may be. “One day pagkatapos ng eleksyon, magkikita-kita din tayo sa kalsada…tanggalin na natin kung anuman ang nasa kalooban natin at magsimula tayo ng panibago.” (“One day after the elections, we’d meet each other in the street…let’s get rid of what we harbor within ourselves and start anew.”)
Meanwhile, Ibba said that “wala kaming hangad kundi makaboto lahat ng voters, mataas ang turn out at walang takot”. (“We desire for nothing but for all voters to be able to vote, [to have a] high turn-out and [to be] without fear.”
One of the provisions of the covenant says that “we shall adhere to the rules of law, election procedures, maintenance of cordial relations, and above all, shall commit to the observance of sportsmanship regardless of election results and will not delay the proclamation of winning candidates.”
“Kung anong pipirmahan ko, kung anong sinabi ko gagawin ko po. Kung galing sa akin, sa kampo ko o sa followers ko, kaya kong sabihan na walang nanggugulo sa iba,” BM Ibba said. (“What I sign, what I said I’ll do, I’ll do it. If coming from me, my camp or among my followers, I can say that none of us are causing trouble to anyone,” BM Ibba said.)
In an exclusive interview of Palawan News with Abdurajik, he said that he and his camp were sincere in affixing his signature to the peace covenant. “Nanawagan ako sa mga otoridad na sana ang rule of law ay manaig, mawala ang takot at mabalik ang tiwala ng tao sa electoral process,” he added. (“I appeal to the authorities for the rule of law to prevail, for fear to be dispelled, and for the trust of the people to the electoral process to be returned.”)
The covenant signing was spearheaded by the Provincial Comelec, the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Princesa and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting represented by Rev. Fr. Zoilo Deslate.