File photo shows various election posters.
The STAR/Boy Santos, File
Midterm polls candidates told not to politicize Lent
( - April 16, 2019 - 3:52pm

MANILA, Philippines — A waste and pollution watchdog called on all candidates in the May midterm elections not to exploit the observance of Holy Week by flooding streets leading to pilgrimage sites with campaign posters.

In a release Tuesday, EcoWaste Coalition warned that candidates and parties may take advantage of religious shrines or penitential acts to draw attention to themselves by putting up posters or setting up water or emergency stations with their names and faces prominently shown.

“We therefore appeal to all well-meaning politicians and groups not to politicize the faith centered-religious activities lined up for the Holy Week,” Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, said.

She added: “If you sincerely want to help, please don’t brag about it to achieve your political ends.”

Campaigning on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, which fall on April 18 and 19, is prohibited.

Candidates who violate the ban could be charged with an election offense and face imprisonment of up to six years, disqualification from running for public office and removal of their right to vote.

‘Don’t leave your trash behind’

EcoWaste Coalition also appealed to public not to leave trash in churches and pilgrimage sites as it stressed that littering is an environmental offense punishable under the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act.

“We appeal to all pilgrims, especially the youth joining the Alay-Lakad penitential walk, to show concern and respect to your fellow human beings and to the environment by not littering,” Lucero said.

She added the group will field “Basura Patrollers” on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday in major pilgrimage sites to monitor compliance to the law.

The group earlier called on the Catholic faithful to observe a greener holy Week by doing acts that will prevent garbage and pollution. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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