The official campaign period for Eleksyon 2022 candidates running for national positions has officially started today, February 8, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Eleksyon 2022 is set on May 9.
Most of the presidential aspirants have set their proclamation on the first day of campaign period in their respective bailiwicks like Manila Mayor Isko Moreno who will hold his proclamation rally at Kartilya ng Katipunan, Senator Panfilo Lacson at the Imus Grandstand in Cavite, Senator Manny Pacquiao in General Santos City, and Vice President Leni Robredo at Plaza Quezon in Naga City.
Labor leader Leody de Guzman will mark the first day of his campaign at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will hold his proclamation rally at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan, while presidential aspirant Jose Montemayor Jr. will hold his event in Pasay City.
Unlike the other bets, presidential aspirant Ernesto Abella will launch his campaign on Wednesday in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
These presidential aspirants will be accompanied by their respective running-mates.
Other presidential aspirants namely Norberto Gonzales and Faisal Mangondato have yet to announce details about their proclamation rallies.
Apart from the presidential and vice presidential hopefuls, aspirants who are seeking Senate seats are also allowed to start their respective campaigns.
The campaign period for local candidates, on the other hand, starts a month later on March 9, 2022.
On the eve of the start of the campaign period, Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez reminded the public of the poll body’s resolution which imposes limitations to in-person campaigning due to the threat of COVID-19.
Campaign period for Nat'l candidates starts midnight tonight. During the campaign period, printed campaign materials must conform to Fair Elections Act regulationsas to size and location of posting. COMELEC Reso 10732 is also in effect, on in-person campaigns. #votesafepilipinas— James Jimenez (@jabjimenez) February 7, 2022
“Campaign period for [national] candidates starts midnight tonight. During the campaign period, printed campaign materials must conform to Fair Elections Act regulations as to size and location of posting. COMELEC Reso 10732 is also in effect, on in-person campaigns,” Jimenez said.
Under Section 14 of Comelec Resolution 10372, the following activities are strictly prohibited during in-person campaigns in all Alert Level category levels:
- handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm in any action that involves physical contact among the candidate, their companions , and the public;
- taking selfies, photographs and other similar activities that require close proximity between the candidate and their companions, and the public;
- distribution of food and drink, and all other goods or items.
- entering any private dwelling during house-to-house campaigning, even with the express permission of the homeowner; and
- crowding, or allowing crowds that violate minimum public health standards (MPHS) around the candidate and his or her companions.
The first three activities listed under Section 14 are also prohibited during miting de avance.
The Comelec Resolution also imposed restrictions on motorcades since only candidates, campaign leaders, and supporters belonging to the same household would be allowed to be in the same vehicle.
Likewise, motorcades in areas under Alert Levels 1 to 4 should not have stopovers, layovers, and other similar stoppages for the conduct of other election campaign activities.
The following are also prohibited during the conduct of motorcades:
- Handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, or any action that involves physical contact among the candidate, their companions
- the public taking selfies, photographs and other similar activities that require close proximity between the candidate and their companions, and the public; and
- distribution of food and drink, and all other goods or items.
In another tweet, Jimenez also reminded the public of the “e-rallies” which the poll body organized to reach those who stay inside their residences as COVID-19 pandemic remains a threat to the public.
The Campaign S.A.F.E Comelec e-Rally Channel on Facebook grants online airtime to candidates for President, Vice President, Senator and party-list groups ranging from three to 10 minutes.
Each candidate for president and vice president will have a 10-minute airtime for each of three slots in a day, while Senate bets will have three minutes for each of five slots in a day.
Party-list groups will have three minutes each for each five slots per day.
Political parties will enjoy 10 minutes for each of their three slots per day.
Recently, the Comelec released the time slots for each candidate. This is based on the virtual raffle that it conducted last January 28.
The Comelec on Monday disclosed that they met with representatives from the police and military, among other government agencies, in connection with the conduct of in-person campaigns, motorcades and other related activities of candidates for the May elections amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The meeting was also attended by the representatives of the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
For Eleksyon 2022, the Comelec said even violations against COVID-19 safety protocols will be classified as election offenses.
Under Comelec Resolution 10730 dated November 17, or the rules and regulations for implementation of the Fair Election law in connection with the May 9, 2022 elections, preventive measures and health protocols against COVID-19 include:
- wearing of face mask and face shield;
- one-meter physical distancing;
- frequent disinfection of hands; and
- proper cough and sneezing etiquette.
Any election offense or violation of the Fair Elections Act will be punishable under Section 264 of the Omnibus Election Code which imposes a penalty of imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and will not be subject to probation.
Atty. Ellaiza Sabile-David, Comelec director III of the Education and Information Department, on Tuesday said the poll body has started monitoring the activities of Eleksyon 2022 candidates.
“Ganun din po ‘yung pagbubuhat ng mga bata. Di ba ‘pag may nakitang mga bata, bubuhatin din ng mga pulitiko. Then, bawal ‘yung lalapit, crowding ng mga tao sa pulitiko,” David said in a radio interview.
(This includes the carrying of children as some politicians do so when they see children. Getting close or crowding with politicians is also not allowed.)
If the aspirants also want to hold indoor or outdoor activities such as miting de avance, the operational capacity of the venue should be examined first depending on the alert level status in the particular area.
“Ganun din sa mga motorcade. Kung may mga kasamahan po syempre ang kandidato na mangangampanya, tignan din ‘yung category level natin para malaman ‘yung ilan lang dapat ‘yung mga kasama o pasahero doon sa isang klase ng behikulo,” she added.
(The same goes for motorcades. The candidate campaigning should also look at the category level to determine how many passengers can ride in a vehicle.)
In a separate Super Radyo dzBB interview, David on Tuesday said that the Comelec, through election officers, has also been sending out letters to aspirants to take down their oversized billboards along roads.
She noted that the maximum size for posters is 2x3 feet, while only 8.5x14 inches is allowed for leaflets, stickers, or pamphlets.
“Bawal na bawal din ‘yung mga tarpaulins sa streamers kasi pwede lang gamitin ito ‘pag meron nang say, rallies or miting de avance na gaganapin na pwede nilang ilagay five days before the conduct of that event. They have to remove din ‘yun within 24 hours after nung kaganapan,” she added.
(Tarpaulins or streamers are also strictly forbidden because they can only be used when there are rallies or miting de avance when they could put them up five days before the conduct of that event. But, they also have to remove it within 24 hours after the event.)
If the public see any violations of such, David said they may file complaints to their respective barangays or directly to Comelec.
“Required din ang mga barangay na mag-provide ng reports sa committee o Comelec ng mga campaigns na ginanap sa lugar nila at kung na-observe ‘yung dapat nilang gawin gaya ng sa health protocols at pati sa violations ng Fair Elections Act,” she explained.
(The barangays are required to submit a report to the committee or Comelec about the campaigns done in their areas, indicating if the health protocols are observed or if the Fair Elections Act is violated.)
She stressed that if the aspirants were proven to have committed an election offense, they may be disqualified.
Meanwhile, David said that the Comelec might hold its first presidential and vice presidential debates in the first week of March as they are still finalizing the format and guidelines for it.
David noted that the debates for vice presidential candidates may be limited to just one, but the debates for the presidential candidates will remain at three.
She said that the Comelec has also started sending out invitations for the said debates, but so far, there were no responses yet.
“So Comelec naman po, we are trying na i-recommend nga rin ito sa banc para maging mandatory sana ‘yung pagdalo nila sa debate,” she added.
(We in the Comelec are recommending to the Comelec en banc to make the debates mandatory among aspirants.) —With a report from Giselle Ombay/NB/KG, GMA News