Prior to campaign period which will start Thursday, October 19, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) set out important guidelines for the candidates and supporters of the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
“The Commission on Elections sternly reminds the candidates to be role models of good citizenship by strictly adhering to the applicable laws and issuances relative to campaigning,” said the COMELEC.
In line with COMELEC Resolution No. 10924, the electoral commission primarily reminded the candidates to refrain from producing campaign materials that do not bear the name of the payor or the candidate who will reap the benefits of the political advertisement or propaganda with reference to Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.
The COMELEC also noted that lawful campaign materials should only be posted on the designated areas for election posters.
In this regard, the following types of advertising materials are considered PROHIBITED CAMPAIGN PROPAGANDA:
- Individual posters in a common poster area exceeding 2×3 feet;
- Billboards, posters, and tarpaulins exceeding 2×3 feet;
- Election campaign or propaganda materials that violate gender sensitivity principles, or are obscene, discriminatory or offensive, or otherwise constitute a violation of Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women;
- Posters or tarpaulins that do not bear the words “Political advertisement paid for/by_______” or “Printed free of charge,” as may be applicable;
- Posters that are not standalone, having the maximum size or lesser of 2×3 feet, and put together side by side to form a collage-like poster exceeding 2×3 feet;
- Posters with single letters of names, having the maximum size or lesser of 2×3 feet, assembled together to form a size exceeding 2×3 feet, or other similar manner of means of grouping of such posters that tends to circumvent the size limitation; and
- Posters or tarpaulins bearing the image of candidates, whether individually, by group, or of the whole slate which exceed 2×3 feet.
The conduct of physical group campaigns are only allowed if they follow the size requirement stipulated in the guidelines.
Meanwhile, the political campaigns which will be done through the mainstream media such as cable television, radio, newspaper, and internet are all subject to the limitation imposed upon the authorized expenses of candidates, observation of truth in advertising, and other relevant regulations by the electoral commission.
In the event that the candidates decide to utilize his or her own social media platforms to conduct live streaming and other audience-building activities, this will be considered as a form of e-rally.
The candidates who will violate posting guidelines shall receive a Notice to Remove and Show Cause Order from the designated Election Officer of the COMELEC to be supervised by the Task Force Anti-Epal.
The Operation Baklas, or the removal of unlawful campaign materials, will take place on October 20 to 27.
Accordingly, the operation shall not cover designated poster areas like plazas, markets, barangay centers, and other similar public places where campaign posters may be readily seen, read, or with the heaviest pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Baklas operations should not also cover the campaign materials posted in private places, however, Election Officers should oversee whether there is a need to amend or modify the list of designated common poster areas based on applicable existing laws or ordinances.
During and after the campaign, candidates are also prohibited from giving or distributing anything of value such as but not limited to T-shirts, ballers, bags, sun visors, hats or caps, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, ballpens, fans, food, drinks, and transportation.
The candidates alongside the five (5) of his or her campaign staff may only wear a T-shirt bearing the candidate’s name and picture during the campaign period.
The provision of cash or any financial assistance under the Assistance to Individual in Crisis Situations (AICS) Program is likewise strictly prohibited from October 20 until election day, except those aid given to qualified beneficiaries of basic needs services such as education, medical, burial assistance, among others.
The Local Committees on Kontra Bigay will act upon the reports of vote buying and vote selling practices subject to the possible filing of petitions for disqualification and cases related to election offense.
Any partisan political activity may only be done during the course of the campaign period, otherwise it is considered as a practice of Premature Campaigning.
“The public is cautioned that violations of COMELEC rules and regulations on unlawful campaign propaganda and premature campaigning may be committed, and penalized accordingly, not only by candidates but by any person,” the electoral commission added.
The campaign period will last until will last until October 28.