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Nueva Ecija bets sign peace pact

February 13, 2013
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Umali – Joson

Cabanatuan City — Novo Ecianos, in a rare opportunity, witnessed on Tuesday Governor Aurelio Umali sharing a space with First District Rep. Josefina Manuel-Joson to release a couple of doves that symbolize peace. The two were rivals in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections here. The release of doves, coupled with dozens of balloons and lighting of candles were held at the Ninoy Aquino Freedom Park here as part of ceremonies for the signing of peace covenant, a campaign to ensure a safe and free elections on May 13 this year. City Mayor Julius Cesar Vergara, meanwhile, had a handshake with Umali’s brother, third district board member Anthony Emmanuel Umali after months of trading barbs over the former’s advocacy of converting this city into a highly urbanized city which the latter strongly opposed. Senior Supt. Crisaldo Nieves, acting director of the Nueva Ecija Police Provincial Office, said he felt the sincerity of “everyone” who participated the activity that started with a kilometer of “unity walk” participated in by representatives of candidates from four political districts of Nueva Ecija as well as representatives from the non-government and government organizations. “I think they were very sincere. In fact, their mere attendance is an indicator of their sincerity,” Nieves said of politicians from the camps of Umali, Joson and those running as independent candidates. Cabanatuan Bishop Sofronio Bancud, head of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) in the province, said the convergence of various political personalities and voters was “a clear expression of one desire” of every Novo Ecijano and every Filipino citizen for a peaceful life. After lighting candles, the participants then released the balloons and signed a covenant on tarpaulins in front of the crowd. In separate interviews, both Umali and Joson said their respective camps will not create any violence. “We want to assure you that our camp would fulfill the covenant,” Joson said. Umali, on the other hand, said he has proved his love of peace since then. Nueva Ecija is a traditional election hot spot until the 2010 elections. It was named, however, as one of 15 provinces under priority areas by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the May 13 polls. (PNA) FFC/ZST/MEG/PS/ABB

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