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PIA Press Release

Davao Archbishop Capalla sends off election volunteers in holy mass

By Carina L. Cayon

Davao City (7 May) -- Archbishop Fernando Capalla sent off for commissioning the volunteers and those involved in the May 2010 elections with prayers and blessings in a holy mass held here on Thursday (May 6) at the San Pedro Cathedral.

The Archbishop officiated the holy mass for the commissioning of Pollwatch Dabaw 2010 volunteers and blessing for the election workers such as the teachers, military, police and the media in Davao City.

Officials of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Commission on Elections, Department of Education, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Task Force Davao, and Philippine Information Agency also witnessed the commissioning.

In his opening prayer, Capalla asked for guidance "in these difficult times of our country and our city... as we begin to engage ourselves in the sacred duty of the electoral process."

And in his homily, he said he was delighted in the commissioning of volunteers that he considered "unique, significant and the first time that happened" in his 35 years in Mindanao as churchperson.

The Archbishop said he wanted "to share this happiness to help the volunteers become more motivated and strengthened in their mission for a clean, honest, and peaceful election in collaboration with the COMELEC, military and police".

He asked everyone "to balance with positive energy, thoughts, feelings, ideas and involvement the negative atmosphere in the country today and the many inhuman and unchristian things that are happening even before election time".

"There's hope for Mindanao, for our country. Evil will always be conquered by good people like you who could do something," the Archbishop stressed in his homily.

During the commissioning rites Capalla made the volunteers promise and pledge to "fulfill their duty with vigilance and due diligence to safeguard the integrity of the voting process" and to "exercise your election duty with fairness, justice and charity."

The volunteers also promised to uphold the values of faith and the legal processes of the country.

After the commissioning ceremony, the volunteers recited the PPCRV pledge stressing the vow to work for CHAMP (clean, honest, accurate, meaningful and peaceful) elections.

Representatives from the volunteers, COMELEC, AFP, DepEd and PIA (Philippine Information Agency) each offered petition for God's guidance and protection in their respective tasks, duties and responsibilities in the election.

Meanwhile, Fr. Archimedes Lachica, S.J., PPCRV regional chair, announced that there are 2,400 volunteers to be assigned to the 1,172 clustered precincts in the city.

Lachica said that there are volunteers who will be assigned in critical areas of the city. He assured that the church always looks forward to a positive outcome of the election in coordination with government agencies.

He encouraged the volunteers not to give in to criticisms and skepticism as he assured that there are "prayer warriors" in the parishes praying for their safety and welfare. "The little we do means a lot for our country," Lachica stressed.

Capalla later posed with the election volunteers and workers in a souvenir photo he requested after the holy mass. "I am grateful and very happy to be with the volunteers," he said. (PIA-XI) [top]

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