By Jennifer P. Rendon
A multi-sectoral group that aims to promote safe and finest elections was launched on Wednesday, 10 days after the start of the campaign period for the national positions.
Dubbed as KASIMBAYANAN or “Kapulungan ng inyong Pulis, ng inyong Sundalo, ng inyong Bantay Dagat, ng the COMELEC, at lahat ng Lingkod Bayan kasama ang Simbahan at Pamayanan” for a Secure, Accurate, Free and Fair Elections (SAFE) 2022, the assembly of different sectors was formally launched at the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6) grandstand at Camp Gen Martin Delgado in Iloilo City.
It saw the participation of different government agencies like the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
The Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and different religious and community leaders “who share a common goal of a violence free and peaceful electoral process” are also part of the group.
The different agencies and organizations were also represented.
For the PNP, there was Brigadier General Flynn Dongbo, PRO-6 chief, and Brigadier General Eliseo DC Cruz, Area Police Command-Visayas, deputy commander; while military officials were headed by Colonel Orlando Edralin, 301st Infantry Brigade deputy commander.
Commodore Edgar Ybanez, Coast Guard District Western Visayas commander, and Atty. Wilfred Jay E. Balisado, COMELEC VI regional director, also attended the event.
The event also saw the presence of Ustadz Jerry Macala, Iloilo United Muslim Community president; Pastor Alexander Edroso, chairman of the Faith Based Lingkod Bayan Advocacy; Reverend Monsignor Jose Marie Delgado, representing the Archdiocese of Jaro; and Monsignor Meliton Oso, Director, representing the PPCRV.
Lieutenant Colonel Arnel Solis, PRO-6 spokesperson, said the endeavor “aims to preserve and protect the integrity of the upcoming May 9, 2022 National and Local Elections (NLE) through interfaith prayers.”
“This shall also serve as a venue to gather the stakeholders for their public declaration of pledge of commitment and collaborative effort for a non-partisan and non-violent election,” he said.
The activity was first launched at the national level on February 3, 2022 at the PNP National headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City.
Religions and community leaders delivered their messages during the launching.
Various symbolic activities such as the lighting of the SAFE candles, pinning of the SAFE 2022 pin, and the manifesto signing of the covenant of peace to signify and foster solidarity towards achieving the goal of restoring the trust in the electoral process and ensure transparent, honest and peaceful election, were also conducted.
Balisado lauded PRO-6 for spearheading the KASIMBAYANAN launching.
“It is indeed a moment to celebrate doing what is right and what is necessary during the coming election and it shows our enthusiasm and our commitment to have a safe, honest and fair May 9, 2022 election. I just hope and pray that with the launching of this KASIMBAYANANAN, we will be able to conduct a peaceful and free election in Panay Island and much more in the entire archipelago,” Balisado said.
Meanwhile, Dongbo expressed optimism that the region could attain an honest, and crime free election.
“If we will work as one and in unity, we will achieve this goal. Asahan po ninyo that Police Regional Office 6 is one with you in our pledge to have a secure, accurate, and fair National and Local Election,” Dongbo said.
To conclude the event, white doves “that symbolizes hope and peace as the nation moves forward towards prosperous and peaceful life for its citizenry” were released.