COTABATO CITY: Candidates from regional down to municipal elective positions have signed a peace covenant aimed at ensuring peaceful and orderly elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, the candidate of the Liberal Party in the regional polls and Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu, also of LP, led the signing of the peace covenant witnessed by military, police and election watchdog officials at the Shariff Kabunsuan Cultural Center here.
Maguidnanao 1st district Rep. Bai Sandra Sema and 2nd district Rep. Zajid Mangudadatu also signed the agreement.
Laisa Alamia, ARMM executive secretary, said the signing was the highlight of a public forum on “Gender related election violence” organized by the Commission on Elections and the Bangsamoro Commission on Women.
“Women are the most disadvantaged sector during elections and they usually become victims of election related violence[ERVs] before, during and after elections,” Alamia said in a radio interview.
“Most if not all the members of the board of election inspectors are teachers who are women. What they have learned from the forum will help them cope with the threats and intimidation that usually accompany elections in the ARMM,” she added.
The forum gave women tips on how to defend themselves and what to do in times of danger.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, 6th Infantry Division commander, led the military in signing the peace covenant aimed at saving lives during elections.
The four ARMM provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are traditionally hot spot areas during local, regional and national elections.
Alamia said the peace covenant was the first of its kind in the ARMM and in the country where women’s safety is assured.