June 17, 2024

Candidates vying for Baguio City’s elective posts participated in the Prayer Service and Covenant Signing held March 24 at the Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines (EDNCP) Diocesan Hall. 
Organized by the Baguio City Ecumenical Council, the ceremonies aimed to foster cooperation for a peaceful, honest, and orderly poll exercise on May 9.
It was properly timed as the candidates were to embark on their campaign the following day, March 25.
Heads of the various religious congregations led in the benediction of the candidates after a dedicatory prayer and signing of the covenant.
In the covenant, the poll aspirants committed to the “legal and moral obligation to hold myself to a higher standard of integrity… accept the corresponding burden of ensuring that I am fully worthy of the public trust (and to) not aid or tolerate those who seek to undermine our elections and our democracy, in any way.”
There are six candidates who are vying for the city’s lone congressional seat while four are eyeing the mayoralty post.
Four are gunning for vice mayorship and 36 are eyeing a berth in the 12-seat city council.
The covenant further reads:
In all things, I shall abide by the laws and the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, respecting the sanctity of elections, and rejecting without reservation, use of violence, force, or threats to influence the outcome of the elections.
I categorically declare that my campaign shall fully respect the will of the electorate and not seek unduly influence them by offering money, influence or other things of value, in exchange for votes.
Neither shall I attempt to mislead or misinform the public through the use of falsified, fabricated, manipulated or stolen information. I shall avoid the dissemination of altered and manipulated media that impersonate other candidates, including deep-fake videos.
I commit to make transparent the use of any coordinated network activity to disseminate messages; avoid using such networks to attack opponents and other electoral stakeholders, or coordinate third-parties, proxies or fake accounts to undertake these actions. I shall take active steps to maintain good cyber-hygiene, such as regular cybersecurity checks and password protection, and train campaign staff in media literacy and risk awareness, in order to recognize and prevent attacks; and I shall ensure transparency in foreign and domestic sources of campaign financing, including online political advertising purchases, in an effort to maximize public trust in the electoral process.
In this pandemic, I shall be constantly mindful of the public health risks associated with political campaigning, and shall religiously adhere to the minimum health and safety protocols, as well as all other applicable guidelines issued by the appropriate health authorities and the Commission on Elections, enjoining all, to Vote S.A.F.E., Pilipinas.
All these, I commit and subscribe to freely and voluntarily, with no purpose of evasion, fully accountable to the Filipino people as my witnesses. – Aileen P. Refuerzo