Campaign expenses cover social media – Comelec
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - November 7, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The use of social media as a campaign vehicle for candidates in the 2016 elections is not totally exempted from the  requirement to submit a Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body has been studying the possibility of issuing guidelines on the use of social media, which the Comelec expects to be a game changer in the elections.

Jimenez said that since the 2010 polls, the Comelec had predicted that social media would have a very significant impact in an election. In the 2016 elections, around 20 million youth are “wired or on social media, so this might already happen.”

“I think we are approaching the point where voting becomes a communal experience. Now, whether or not it will push any specific candidate into the winner’s circle, or if the activities in social media will translate into votes, that remains to be seen,” he added.

But Jimenez said that while social media could be free as campaign vehicles, candidates still have to declare the campaign expenses that they incurred in the process.

For instance, if a candidate posted a video campaign on social media, he would have to declare the expenses in coming up with the video.

“Even in the 2013 elections, our policy was ‘your social media space is your own space.’ Basically, it is not regulated. You can tweet about anything, candidates are allowed to maintain their own Facebook pages and can run their campaign from there,” Jimenez said.

“Distribution is free, fine. But making the video, like donated talents, that’s reportable (through SOCE). How much you spent in getting that in digital format, that’s reportable,” he added.

ACIRC BUT JIMENEZ CAMPAIGN COMELEC ELECTIONS FACEBOOK JAMES JIMENEZ JIMENEZ MEDIA SOCIAL STATEMENT OF CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPENDITURES
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