Speaker calls for orderly, peaceful village polls

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Sunday appealed to all candidates to embrace the true spirit of democracy and shun all forms of violence and illegal acts in light of Monday's Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE). 'Our barangays serve as the foundation of our nation's governance. It is crucial that these elections take place in an atmosphere of tranquility and respect for the rule of law," Romualdez said in a press release. He said every eligible voter should have the opportunity to cast their vote without fear of intimidation or violence. 'When voters can cast their ballots without fear of intimidation or violence, it upholds the very essence of democracy - the idea that every citizen's voice is valued and every vote is equal. This level of playing field is the cornerstone of a just and representative democracy,' he said. On Friday, Philippine National Police Chief, General Benjamin Acorda Jr., said that it is 'all systems go' for the security of the BSKE. Full alert status has been raised on Saturday as 187,600 personnel have been deployed to secure the polls. 'We implore all candidates and their supporters to act with civility, restraint, and respect for one another. The true strength of our democracy lies in our ability to peacefully choose our local leaders,' Romualdez added. Appeal to OFW families Meanwhile, Kabayan Party-List Representative Ron P. Salo reminded families of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to vote for Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan candidates who understand their plight and could promote their welfare. "I remind families of overseas Filipino workers to select and vote for barangay officials who do not only understand but also empathize with their unique challenges," Salo, chairperson of the House Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs, said in a separate statement. According to the veteran lawmaker, families with absent parents or family members working abroad face distinctive hurdles, and it is imperative that elected leaders comprehend and address these issues effectively. 'The children of OFWs need guidance, and it is essential that the barangay officials, as community leaders, are able to extend this support. Thus, it is essential to vote for officials who would perform the functions of the state as parens patriae, acting as the parent of the nation, particularly for families of OFWs," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency