90-day campaign for nat’l posts starts today, Feb. 12

The 90-day campaign period for senators and party-list representatives will officially start on Tuesday, February 12.

With this, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded candidates and their supporters to observe the rules in campaigning as provided by law.

Campaign materials

Considered as lawful campaign materials are pamphlets, leaflets, stickers or other printed materials not exceeding 8 1/2 by 14 feet; handwritten or printed letters; posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard not exceeding 2 x 3 feet; streamers not bigger than 3 x 8 feet at the site of public rally or meeting shall be removed within 24 hours after the said activity; mobile units and vehicles used in motorcades of all types.

Also allowed are paid advertisements in broadcast, internet, mobile, print or outdoor media subject to the requirements in Section 9 in the Fair Elections Act.

Social media posts, whether original or re-posted from some source, which may either incidental to the poster’s advocacies of social issues or which may have, for its primary purpose, the endorsement of a candidate only is acceptable. In the headquarters and residences of candidates, lawful elections paraphernalia may be displayed.

Candidates and parties are also required to incorporate sign language interpreters and closed captioning in broadcast election propaganda intended for exhibition on television and/or the internet, and are encouraged to ensure the availability of their respective printed campaign materials in Braille.

Prohibited materials

Candidates are not allowed to print, publish, post or distribute any newspaper, newsletter, newsweekly, gazette or magazine advertising, pamphlet, leaflet, card, decal, bumper sticker, poster, comic book, circular, handbill, streamer, sample list of candidates or any published or printed political matter and to air or broadcast any election propaganda or political advertisement by television or radio or on the internet for or against a candidate or group of candidates to any public office, unless they bear and be identified by the reasonably legible, or audible words “political advertisement paid for” followed by the true and correct name and address of the candidate or party for whose benefit the election propaganda was printed or aired.

It is also unlawful to publish, print or distribute said campaign materials unless they bear, and are identified by, the reasonably legible, or audible words “political advertisements paid by,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the payor.

The Comelec said all campaign materials donated for a particular candidate cannot be printed, published, or broadcasted unless they are accompanied by a written acceptance by the said candidate or party.

It is prohibited to show, display, or exhibit publicly in a theater, through a television station, a video sharing site, social media network, or any public forum any movie, cinematography or documentary, including concert or any type of performance portraying the life of biography of a candidate, or in which a character is portrayed by an actor or media personality who is himself or herself a candidate.

It disallows for any newspaper or publication, radio, television, or cable television station, or other mass media entity, or any person making use of the mass media to sell or give free of charge print or advertising space or airtime for campaign or election propaganda purposes to any candidate or party in excess of the size, duration or frequency authorized by the law.

It is also banned for any radio, television, cable television station, announcer or broadcaster to allow the scheduling of any program, or permit any sponsor to manifestly favor or oppose any candidate or party by unduly or repeatedly referring to, or unnecessarily, mentioning his name, or including therein said candidate or party.

The Comelec also prohibits the posting, displaying or exhibiting any election campaign material outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner and to print, publish, post, show, display, distribute, any election campaign or propaganda materials that violates gender sensitivity, obscene or offensive, or constitutes violation of Magna Carta of Women.

Prohibited places

The Comelec reminded national candidates that propaganda materials are not allowed in publicly-owned electronic announcement boards, such as light-emoting diode (LED) display boards located along highways and streets, and liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors posted on walls of public buildings and other similar devices which are owned by local government units, government-owned and controlled corporations, or any agency or instrumentality of the government.

Campaign materials are not allowed to be posted on government vehicles, public transport vehicles owned and controlled by the government such as the Metro Rail Transit (MRT), Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the Philippine National Railway trains.

They should not also be posted on waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signage and other signboards erected on public property and other similar government infrastructures such as pedestrian overpasses, underpasses, and school buildings.

Meanwhile, common poster areas, where candidates can post posters, will be put up which will be located in public places such as plazas, markets, barangay centers and other areas with heavy pedestrian or vehicular traffic in the city/municipality as approved by the Election Officers (EOs).

Posters and tarpaulins may also be posted in private properties, provided that the posting has the consent of the owner.

The Comelec added that candidates for national posts are allowed not more than a total of 120 minutes of television advertising, on a per station basis, whether appearing on national, regional, or local, free or cable television, and 180 minutes of radio advertising, on a per station basis, whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, whether by purchase or donation.

For published or printed campaign materials, candidates are only allowed a maximum size of 1/4 page in broadsheets and 1/2 page in tabloids but not more than three times a week per newspaper or magazine.

The Comelec added that campaigning is prohibited on Apr. 18, 2019 (Maundy Thursday), Apr. 19, 2019 (Good Friday), May 12, 2019 (eve of election day), and on May 13 (election day).

Campaigning abroad will be only until April 12, as the one-month voting period by overseas absentee voters will start on April 13.

Campaign violations constitute an election offense, which carries the penalty of one to six years imprisonment, removal of right to vote, and disqualification from holding public office. (PNA)

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