Barangay candidates unite for Covenant Signing
Eleanor Salvador-Peña with Myrna Bermudo
St. Jude Thaddeus Parish (SJTP) in Naga City held the Covenant for Peace Signing and Pledge of Integrity for the 75 candidates in Bgy. Concepcion Grande and Del Rosario who are vying for a seat on the Barangay Council and Sanguniang Kabataan, respectively. It was attended overwhelmingly by all the candidates. On October 8, 2023, in the mass presided over by the parish priest, Fr. Glenn Ruiz, he emphasized not only the roles of the candidates but, most importantly, the role of the voters. According to him, running for public office is a huge responsibility and accountability; on the other hand, that same responsibility and accountability rests on the people who elect them.
Barangays Concepcion Grande and Del Rosario of Naga City are barangays under the pastoral care of St. Jude Parish.
The representative from the COMELEC and the Philippine National Police (PNP) attended the Covenant of Peace and Pledge of Integrity. The candidates were also presented to the parishioners who became witnesses to the signing. Fr. Ruiz initiated this activity as part of the parish’s accountability for social transformation. The parish champions responsible voting for a Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful Election (CHAMP).
It was also an opportunity for all candidates to be on a neutral ground and be familiar with one another, united in the pledge to the public whom they promised to serve. Here is an excerpt from the integrity pledge they made before God and the parishioners: “I will act with integrity at all times, I will follow the laws, rules, and policies related to election. My campaign will be based on truth, and I will express a platform with love for the country and a program that will help my fellow men. I renounce defamation, violence, intimidation, false influence, and fraud. I will expose and fight vote buying and selling, and other fraudulent schemes. I will respect the rights of all citizens to freely choose a community leader. I will recognize their voice and accept their decision”.
The Naga City COMELEC Registrar, Atty. Maico Julia, lauded SJTP for this noteworthy initiative.
A similar activity was conducted in the Parish of St. Bartolomew Parish where Fr. Danilo Dizon, parish priest, presided over a mass held on October 10 to start the candidate briefing, unity walk, interfaith rally, integrity pledge and peace covenant signing. In Goa, the parish priest of St. John the Baptist Parish, Fr. Jomar de Hitta, also celebrated a Eucharistic celebration to kick off the integrity pledge and peace covenant signing of 1000 candidates from 34 barangays. The PNP, COMELEC official and representatives from various sectors were invited during the occasion.
The Barangay and Sanggunian Kabataan Elections (BSKE) will be on October 30.
On July 30 this year, CBCP President Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said that the voting rights of the youth and laity in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections must be given importance. The Bishop encouraged the public to participate in ensuring order during the election and be vigilant of the polling results. The bishop’s pronouncement was published in the website of the Archdiocese of Manila.
In a statement released by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) last June 27, 2023, “the Court declared as unconstitutional RA 11935 or the law postponing the December 5, 2022 BSKE. However it ruled that the October 30, 2023 BSKE shall be held on the first Monday of December 2023 and every three years thereafter, pursuant to RA11462.”
(Ms. Eleanor Peña’s article on St. Jude Parish was originally published last October 15, 2023 in Mandylion, a weekly bulletin of St. Jude Thaddeus Parish)