Caravan around the Lake Lanao for peaceful elections

MARAWI CITY February 13, 2016--For the first time, CSOs, soldiers, policemen, COMELEC representatives, PPCRV volunteers, DepEd teachers, and private individuals converged to tour around the circumference of Lake Lanao in Lanao del Sur to promote peaceful elections.

Aminodin Cali, founder of Kalimodan Inc., the brains behind the event, said that after the collapse of BBL, people became anxious that violence will break out again in the region, thus the NGO wanted to show that the people of Lanao del Sur love peace more than war and especially that it is election  period, the people hope for peace more than ever.

Around 70 vehicles and 80 bikers participated in the Caravan for Peace Reform and Electoral H.O.P.E. that was spearheaded by Kalimodan Inc. in partnership with Kazalimbago Movement.

After the caravan, the group will lanch a public covenant signing of mayoralty candidates in all municipalities of Lanao del Sur that no violence will break out among them.

According to Samira Gutoc-Tomawis of Kazalimbago Movement, when they told the COMELEC chairman Andres Bautista, the chairman found it new to his ears and that it might be the first time in the Philippines that he is hearing it although this will be the third time that the group conducted the covenant signing.

Asked for the efficacy of the activity, Tomawis said that in the previous two elections when the covenant signing was held, the number of COMELEC cases filed by Meranao politicians have dipped and there was almost no zero cases of failure of elections.  She added that the Meranaos have the culture of Maratabat or pride and they will try their best to honor their words especially when they have made a public display of commitment.

Tha caravan started the tour in Marawi City, passed through the upland municipalities of the 2nd District of Lanao del Sur, stopped over the municipalities of Ganassi, Binidayan, and Masiu, went down the flatlands of the 1st District and finally converging again in Laza Cabili, Marawi City where a program was held.

As the caravan passed by the police stations and army posts, policemen and soldiers came out to wave at the party. Residents who witnessed the parade cheered along the caravan's band.

"We hope for the best but we expect for the worst. In our efforts now, we can probably equal the relative peaceful and orderly elections of 2013. We want to make sure that the future leaders will be elected in a fashion that is acceptable to everybody," said Philippine Army 103rd Brigade Commander Col. Roseller Murillo.