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Comelec grants OVP request to allow pandemic response projects during campaign

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Comelec grants OVP request to allow pandemic response projects during campaign
Photo shows the Day 1 Launch of the Office of the Vice President's Vaccine Express project in cooperation with the Manila City local government.
Release / Office of the Vice President

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections has granted the request of the Office of the Vice President to allow it to resume a number of its projects under its COVID-19 pandemic response initiative as Vice President Leni Robredo continues her presidential campaign.

This was confirmed by Comelec Commissioner George Garcia in a Viber message to reporters. The Comelec en banc, he said, granted the petition for exception of the OVP of certain projects and programs during the 45-day period of the campaign.

"We thank the Comelec en banc for their action on the OVP's request," lawyer Barry Guttierez, Robredo's spokesperson, said in a statement when sought for a reaction. 

"This will ensure that Angat Buhay projects which have helped hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in the past six years can continue to bring hope to communities all over the Philippines."

Under Comelec Resolution No. 10730, the official campaign period begins on February 8 and ends on May 7, 2022. The resolution also defines "election campaigning" as "an act designed to promote the election or defeat of a particular candidate or candidates to a public office."

Robredo, who is running for president, suspended her office's pandemic response initiatives as far back as February 4 as her office filed its request for an exemption. The campaign period is set to run for just 45 more days. 

The OVP's projects include the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, Swab Cab, and Vaccine Express. The OVP has said that the logos of the programs have since been redesigned to remove links to Robredo.

"We have [four] COVID-19 response programs and we are requesting for an exemption because while cases go down, we see the number of people asking for help every day. And if we stop this, others do not have anywhere to go," she said then. 

The vice president at the time vowed not to show up at the programs' operations if her office were to be given an exemption. 

"It would be a waste to end this because we're helping a lot of people. We understand why an exemption is needed, but we said that if we're given an exemption, I won't show my face there and we will make sure the logo isn't identified to me," she said. 

Franco Luna with a report from Xave Gregorio  

COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS

COVID-19 PANDEMIC

OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

VICE PRESIDENT LENI ROBREDO

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