LAOAG CITY —- On a chilly Monday morning, a day before the official start of national elections campaign, Ilocos Norte candidates showed up early at the St. William Cathedral in this city to attend mass and sign a covenant for peace and cooperation in the coming May elections.

Officiated by Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba, he thanked all candidates for attending the mass and covenant signing initiated jointly by the Ilocos Norte Police Provincial Office, Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and the Commission on Elections.

“Your presence signifies your support. All of us dream and aspire for peaceful elections. There shall be no room for selfish motive. Let us allow our people to exercise their right to vote freely and usher new and committed service to benefit the people we serve,” Mayugba told candidates and their supporters after the mass and made a pledge of commitment to abide by the rules of law.

Led by unopposed Governor Imee Marcos, she urged fellow candidates to abide by the fair elections act and ensure peaceful and orderly elections.

After the mass, all candidates were requested to make a pledge in front of the church altar to abide by the rule of law. Afterward, they fall in line as they take turns in affixing their signature in a huge tarpaulin.

Even with a strained foot, unopposed Nueva Era town mayor Aldrin Garvida walked in at the Cathedral with an assistive device to express support at the joint PNP-Comelec-PPRCRV initiative.

As of this posting, the Philippine National Police has identified at least seven of the 21 municipalities and two cities here as a priority watch list in the upcoming 2016 elections.

The Provincial Director said the PNP is closely monitoring the situation in these seven municipalities as they have also increased police visibility and the establishment of strategic PNP-Comelec checkpoints.

During the covenant signing, the Comelec represented by Batac City Comelec Officer Josephine Balbas reminded all candidates to have a copy of the fair election act which serves as the bible during elections.

“Anything outside the fair election act is illegal. Please follow the prescribed size of election paraphernalia and the designated common poster areas,” Balbas reiterated.

Meanwhile, Provincial Director Roger Daquiaog of the Department of Interior and Local Government wished all candidates good luck and expressed hope for the will of the people to prevail.

“Let us choose our leaders who can deliver public service. After the election, let us go back to work again in unity and commit ourselves to public service,” said Daquioag as he enjoined candidates to look at their opponents and utter the words, “Kay ganda ng umaga kapag kasama kita” with smile. PNA /