Reminder for candidates: No giving of freebies at rallies - Comelec
Michael Vencynth H. Braga/RHM (The Freeman) - February 14, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A Commission on Elections official is reminding both the public and the candidates that they are prohibited from giving or accepting anything of value during any public rallies or political activities.

Lawyer Ferdinand Gujilde, Comelec-Cebu election officer, this is among the acts prohibited during both the national and local campaign periods.

The prohibition, which includes money and free food, drinks, and/or transportation, is in effect already five hours before and after a rally or any political activity.

He also said that streamers are only allowed in political rallies, not anywhere else.

“The maximum size is three by eight. It can only be placed at the venue of the public rally five days prior to the intended date and must be removed 24 hours thereafter,” he said.

Mounting of campaign materials outside common poster areas is also prohibited. Common poster areas are plazas and markets, and those identified by the local election officers.

Campaign materials are also not allowed on a tree; wall of a public building; plants and trees in plazas, parks, and school premises; government-owned electronic announcement boards; patrol cars; ambulances; waiting sheds; sidewalks; pedestrian overpasses and underpasses.

Flyovers; bridges; main thoroughfares; road center islands; highways; schools; public shrines; barangay halls; government offices; public structures; and public transport terminals such as airports, seaports, piers, and bus terminals.

Last week, the Comelec, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Philippine National Police, kicked off “Operation Baklas” for the removal of illegal campaign materials.

Gujilde, though, said a formal complaint for an election law violation must be made so Comelec can act on it.

He admitted that implementation of the law remains a big challenge for them, adding that it is up to the electorate whether they would support or not candidates who violate the law.

The campaign period for national candidates started last February 9 while that of local candidates is on March 25. — (FREEMAN)

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