EditorialA chance for peace?

A chance for peace?


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Last Monday, Congressman Chiquiting Sagarbarria announced that the Degamo camp and the Sagarbarria camp have joined forces for the 2025 elections in compliance with the directive of no less than the President of the Philippines, in order to ensure unity, peace, political stability and progress.

The announcement was made before hundreds of political followers who attended the first anniversary of the gruesome March 4 massacre in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, that killed Gov. Roel Degamo and 10 others.

Under the announced lineup, Gov. Chaco Sagarbarria will run for governor in 2025 with Siaton Mayor Fritz Diaz as his vice gubernatorial candidate. Pamplona Mayor and Roel Degamo’s widow, Janice Degamo, will run for 3rd District Representative.

The announcement, which caught many people in the audience by surprise, was well applauded by the hundreds, who attended the event. The people of Negros Oriental have witnessed or heard of so much violence in the Province that the prospect of peace, no matter how distant, is most welcome news.

The plan will call for politicians to unite behind common candidates to avoid competition, in answer to the theory that having political opponents disrupts peace. Most of the violence that happened in Negros Oriental in the past several years have been blamed on political rivalry.

It used to be the popular notion that having political opponents in an election was considered a good sign in that the people had a choice of who they think would be the best person for the job. Competition used to ensure accountability for the ruling candidate.

Opposition parties used to play a crucial role in holding those in power accountable for their actions, policies and decisions as the absence of scrutiny may lead to unchecked power, potential abuses and lack of responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the population.

But politics has changed in Negros Oriental in the last 15 years. We remember the likes of Mariano Perdices and Lorenzo Teves, who would move about without heavily-armed bodyguards in tow. Political noise was only confined back then to the election period and the political barkers ceased to have radio programs once the winners were proclaimed.

It’s essential to note that while political competition is important, it is not the sole determinant of peace. Other factors, such as good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, and effective institutions, also play crucial roles in fostering a peaceful society. Striking a balance between political competition and stability is a complex task that requires careful consideration of various factors.



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