The provincial Commission on Elections (COMELEC) office has reminded all local candidates that starting March 25, they are required to secure a “consent” or a permit from the poll body before they can conduct any form of election campaign activity.

COMELEC Palawan spokesperson Jomel Ordas said no election campaign activities, such as caravans and motorcades, in-person meetings (caucuses, conventions, indoor rallies, and other election campaign activities held indoors), and rallies and miting de avance outdoors should be carried out by candidates unless they are given consent by the COMELEC Campaign Committee (CCC).

Ordas explained these are part of the new guidelines stated in Sections 20 to 24 of COMELEC Resolution No. 10732 promulgated on November 24, 2021, for the conduct of the National and Local Elections (NLE) 2022 because of the ongoing pandemic.

“Kasi maraming klase ng election campaign. Sinasabi kasi ng resolution, or ini-specify na niya agad kung ano ang sakop ng election campaign activity. In-person campaigning, caucuses… may definition dyan. Depende sa klase ng campaign, may mga requirements na dapat nilang sundin,” Ordas said Monday.

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“Ang mahalaga kasi dito yong sundin ang minimum public health protocols depende sa kung anong category na ang lugar,” he added.

Applications for the conduct of election campaign activities shall be filed at least 72 hours prior to the intended schedule.

An application for the right to run a campaign activity can be made by the candidate or an authorized representative, as well as by representatives of the candidate’s party, list, or coalition.

Ordas said election campaign activities have different requirements, so candidates should be sure to include any necessary attachments and particular information, like time and location of the event and the names of attendees as well as the desired routes (beginning and finishing), the maximum capacity of the location, and measures to be undertaken to enclose an outdoor space (if necessary).

“Ngayon ay puwede na silang mag-file for consent kung may schedule na sila. I-evaluate yan kung approve or denied ng campaign committee. If hindi mismo ang candidate ang magpa-file, dapat yong representative may special power of attorney,” Ordas said.

Approval or denial of the application must be made within 48 hours of receipt by the CCC concerned. The application will be presumed approved if the relevant CCC does nothing. If applications are rejected, there are guidelines governing how a candidate, a recognized political party, party-list, or coalition may appeal the decision.

Ordas said the compliance of the candidates will be “strictly” monitored by the Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT), the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as they are expected to be non-partisan.

“Dapat hanapin nila ang permit kasi ang e-ensure noon ay kung masusunod ang public health standards dahil nasa pandemic pa tayo, May naka-state sa resolution na magsu-submit din ng report ang mga magmo-monitor after every election campaign activity,” he said. (with a report from Aira Genesa Magdayao)

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