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Local bets to sign peace covenant for a peaceful elections in Maguindanao

PARANG, Maguindanao, Feb. 23 – Candidates vying for local positions in Iranun-dominated municipalities in Maguidanao will sign on Thursday a peace covenant here in a bid to ensure an honest, orderly and peaceful elections in May.

The peace covenant signing is initiated by Integral Development Services (IDS) and the military's 37th Infantry Battalion and open to the general public.

IDS is a non government organization that focuses on peaceful resolution of local conflicts and mitigating election violence.

Iranun is a sub-tribe within Maguindanao province composed of Maguindanao and Maranao inhabitants.

Bing Constantino, IDS project director, said the candidates were expected to seal their unconditional commitment and support for a peaceful elections in their respective municipalities.

Invited to grace the signing are Comelec Commissioner Elilas Yusoph as keynote speaker, together with guests from non government organizations, Church, local government officials, election watchdogs and the local candidates.

Maguindanao is a perennial hot spot, according to the Comelec, due to the high number of election-related violence in previous elections.

The signing of the peace covenant is an initiative of the IDS with support from the Iranun Supreme Council for Peace and Development, police, military and generous assistance from teh Bureau of Democracy, Rights and Labor and the Department of State of the USA and the Asia Foundation.

Similar signing activity will also be held in other parts of Maguindanao. (PNA)

RMA/NYP/EOF

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