Comelec sees surge in election campaign

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Comelec sees surge in election campaign
A worker unloads official election ballots from a truck at Manila City Hall early yesterday. The Commission on Elections has started delivering official ballots to the treasurers of municipalities and cities, who will keep them in custody before distribution to polling precincts on election day.
Russell Palma

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) sees a surge in political activities this week with the campaign period now in the final stretch.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said local government units (LGUs) should be prepared now that candidates are making the final push in the last week of the campaign period.

“It will spike in the last week, when there will be miting de avance and all the last push for candidates,” Jimenez said.

“Now is the best time to reach out to our LGUs to make sure that their streets are able to accommodate the spike in the activities of local campaigns,” he added.

Campaign period for national and local candidates is set to end on Saturday, May 11.

Jimenez reminded LGUs to ensure that proper campaign procedures are in place.

He said there will be an increase in the number of motorcades as well as people in the streets in the final days of the campaign period.

He said rallies at all hours of the day are also expected.

With all the campaign-related activities, Jimenez said LGUs must be able to manage those in their areas of jurisdiction.

Comelec also reminded candidates to abide by the rules and regulations governing political rallies and other campaign activities.

He said a miting de avance rally should not be longer than 24 hours.

“This applies to all sorts of political rallies, even major miting de avance which, in the past, have tried to make a distinction for,” Jimenez pointed out.

He said all political rallies would have to adhere to the same standard.

Absentee voting

Jimenez announced the poll body is set to start the canvassing of local absentee voting (LAV) results on election day, May 13.

Comelec invited political parties to send watchers for the LAV canvassing to be held at the Palacio del Gobernador building in Intramuros, Manila.

“Submit the names of your two watchers who shall serve alternately to the committee on local absentee voting on or before May 13,” Comelec said.

The LAV Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEIs) and the Special Board of Canvassing (SBOC) will convene at 5 p.m. of May 13 for the start of the canvassing.

Comelec said the SBEIs and SBOC will proceed with the canvassing everyday from May 13 until its completion.

The members of the SBEIs shall count the ballots of the local absentee voters and accomplish the elections returns.

The SBOC shall canvass the elections returns, accomplish the statement of votes, summary of the statement of votes and certificate of canvass.

At the same time, Jimenez said the request to extend the overseas absentee voting (OAV) will be reviewed.

“That will have to be taken up by the commission en banc,” Jimenez said in reaction to the request of Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez for the extension of OAV.

He said the Philippine embassy will have to submit a formal request before the Comelec can take appropriate action.

Jimenez said under the law, OAV voting shall end at the same time as the election in the Philippines concludes.

As to the public school teachers serving during the elections, Jimenez said the poll body would pay them in cash.

“The honorarium will be paid in cash and no longer through cash cards,” Jimenez said.

Comelec-Project Management Office deputy project director Teopisto Elnas reported that their Finance Department has already released the budget for the honorarium of members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs).

“We have already released the corresponding amount for each city and municipality to our election officers. The pay roll for the electoral boards is ready,” Elnas noted.

Under the Election Service Reform Act, the chair of the electoral board shall receive P6,000 while the members of electoral board will be getting P5,000.

Department of Education Supervisor Official will be paid P4,000 and P2,000 shall be given to each support staff.

The Comelec in the past elections adopted the use of cash cards in paying teachers rendering poll duties.

Many teachers complained of getting their honorarium long after election day due to the lack of access to ATM machines.

Election paraphernalia

Comelec has authorized release of election paraphernalia in Metro Manila a day ahead of election day.

In a resolution, the Comelec gave the NCR election director, as well as all provincial election supervisors, the authority to approve or disapprove requests for early distribution of paraphernalia to be used on election day.

“There is a need to immediately act on requests for authority for the early distribution of election forms, supplies and paraphernalia to ensure such are distributed in time for the opening of polls on Election Day,” Comelec said.

Requests for early distribution shall be allowed if there is considerable distance between Office of the City or Municipal Treasurer and the voting center; difficulty in transporting between Office of the City/Municipal Treasurer and the voting center; high number of polling precincts in the city/municipality that will make it unlikely for all the BEIs to be given the election paraphernalia, forms, and supplies on Election Day and be in their respective polling precincts on time.

Peace and order condition in the area in relation to the insurance of the safety of the BEI members and the election paraphernalia, forms and supplies can also be ground in granting request for early release of election materials.

Request for early distribution of election paraphernalia can be filed until today.

Election forms, paraphernalia and supplies are normally distributed to the BEIs early in the morning of Election Day.

Comelec, however, said release of election paraphernalia in Metro Manila shall not be earlier than May 12.

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