La Union rival clans ink peace agreement

>> Monday, March 7, 2016

By Jun Elias

BALAOAN, La Union – Candidates of rival political families in this town, which is considered a poll hotspot, have vowed to avoid engaging in violence and ensure peaceful and orderly elections in May.
Outgoing Mayor Al-Fred Concepcion was the first to sign a peace covenant in the presence of town parish priest Fr. Manuel Laviste at the St. Nicholas Church on Tuesday.
Concepcion is running for vice mayor in the May elections, with his daughter Aleli as mayoral candidate.
The Concepcions are running against the son and father tandem of Vice Mayor Gerard Ostrea, who is running for mayor, and board member Joaquin Ostrea Jr. as his running mate.
Al-Fred and Joaquin are first cousins.
Laviste urged both camps to abide by the terms of the covenant.
The Concepcions are members of the administration Liberal Party and the Ostreas of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan.
The candidates for councilors also signed the covenant, which was organized by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.
They swore to abide by and respect the covenant, avoid violence and personal attacks, and not to employ armed groups or buy votes.
Thousands accompanied the Concepcions while the Ostreas brought only a few family members during the signing.
Town police chief Senior Inspector Rodelio Olsim said the provincial  police and the Commission on Elections classified Balaoan an election hotspot.
A similar covenant was signed in Bacnotan town by the Fontanilla brothers, who are both running for mayor.
Mayor Francis Fontanilla and his brother Lito signed the pact in the presence of their supporters, church representatives, residents, and police and village officials.


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