By Leslie Ann G. Aquino
Candidates running in the May 14, 2018, Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections may start campaigning as the nine-day campaign period begins today, May 4.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No. 10246 sets the campaign period from May 4 to May 12.
The Comelec reminded candidates to follow campaign rules such as the common poster area.
In a blogpost, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said it is illegal to post, display, or exhibit any election campaign or propaganda material in three specific areas:
- Outside of authorized common poster areas
- Public places, and
- Private properties without the consent of the owner.
Public places defined
Jimenez explained that public places include any of the following:
- Publicly owned electronic announcement boards, such as light-emitting diode (LED) display boards located along highways and streets, liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors posted on walls of public buildings, and other similar devices which are owned by local government units, government-owned and -controlled corporations, or any agency or instrumentality of the government;
- Motor vehicles used as patrol cars, ambulances, and for other similar purposes that are owned by local government units, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and other agencies and instrumentalities of the government, particularly those bearing government license plates;
- Public transport vehicles owned and controlled by the government such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT), and Philippine National Railway trains and the like.
- Waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages and other signboards erected on public property, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, center islands of roads and highways;
- Schools, public shrines, barangay halls, government offices, health centers, public structures and buildings or any edifice thereof; and
- Premises of public transport terminals, owned and controlled by the government, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks, piers, train stations and the like.
Lawful campaign materials
Jimenez said that as to the lawful election propaganda, candidates may use the following:
- Pamphlets, leaflets, cards, decals, stickers or other written or printed materials the size of which does not exceed eight and one-half inches (8 ½ inches) in width and fourteen inches (14 inches) in length;
- Handwritten or printed letters urging voters to vote for or against any particular political party or candidate for public office;
- Posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two feet by three feet (2 x 3 feet);
- Streamers not exceeding three feet by eight feet (3 x 8 feet) in size displayed at the site and on the occasion of a public meeting or rally. Said streamers may be displayed five (5) days before the date of the meeting or rally and shall be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after said meeting or rally;
- Mobile units, vehicles motorcades of all types, whether engine or manpower driven or animal drawn, with or without sound systems or loud speakers and with or without lights;
- In residences of candidates, lawful election paraphernalia may be displayed, but banners or streamers referred to in paragraph (d) above shall not be allowed;
- All other forms of election propaganda not prohibited by the Omnibus Election Code or these rules.
- Paid advertisements in print or broadcast media subject to the requirements set forth in Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.
Jimenez encouraged candidates do their best to use “recyclable” and “environment-friendly” materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda.
He added that it is also very important that candidates include, in their campaign materials, the phrase: “This material should be recycled.”
“Of course, the use of the recycle logo will be considered substantial compliance,” said Jimenez.
Any printed or published, and broadcast election propaganda for or against a candidate or group of candidates to any public office, he said shall bear and be identified by reasonably legible or audible words “political advertisement paid for,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the candidate whose benefit the election propaganda was printed or aired.
“It shall also bear, and be identified by, reasonably legible, or audible words ‘political advertisement paid by,’ followed by the true and correct name and address of the payer,” Jimenez said.
He added that “Paid for” refers to the person or persons who benefit from the ad – like “binayaran para kay _______.” “Paid by,” on the other hand, translates to “binayaran ni ______.”
“Campaign rules are designed precisely to ensure fairness by eliminating the potential for some candidates to take unfair advantage of their resources or unique circumstances. More importantly, everybody knows instinctively when what they’re about to do violates the spirit, if not the letter, of those rules,” said Jimenez.
More than one million individuals have filed their certificates of candidacy for the May 14 polls from April 14 to 21.
Meanwhile, around 300 candidates for the May 14 Barangay and SK elections in Malabon City signed a covenant for peaceful polls on Wednesday.
The “Tamang Pagboto, Tamang Pagbilang” peace covenant was signed at San Bartolome Parish. Winston Gaffud, Malabon election officer, urged the candidates from the city’s 21 villages to abide by the election rules.
Gaffud specifically asked the candidates to deposit their firearms with the police as there is an ongoing gun ban. (With a report from Kate B. Javier)