By Leslie Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) expects a more festive atmosphere as the campaign period for local candidates for the 2019 midterm polls starts Friday, March 29, and ends on May 11.
Local bets are those running for members of the House of Representatives, as well as elective provincial, city, and municipal officials.
With only 45 days left before the May 13 midterm elections, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
Before, aspirants mostly rely on posters and tarpaulins because it is cheaper. But with the campaign period on, Jimenez said candidates would now have bands and sound system.
With the campaign period in effect, the Comelec said it will enforce the following effective March 29:
1. Ban on the construction of public works projects.
2. Ban on delivery of materials for public works.
3. Release, disbursement, or expenditures of public funds.
4. Appointment or hiring of new employees.
5. Creation or filling up of new positions.
6. Promotion or giving of salary increases, remuneration or privilege.
The Comelec also asked candidates to keep the political campaign clean and peaceful.
“We remind the candidates to please to keep the campaigns clean. Like literally clean because the tendency of local campaign is to leave trash behind whenever they would hold political rallies. So they would leave water bottles, styro packs, and things like that. It adds an incredible load to the garbage already being dealt by the city,” said Jimenez.
“I would like to remind candidates to also keep a close reign on their supporters. We all know local elections could be rowdy. They could be unruly so it’s important for supporters to be orderly sa kanilang pagiikot sa mga daan daan (when they go around), especially in the cities,” he added.
Jimenez likewise asked candidates to be considerate of the local communities, especially those who love to hold rallies as early as 4 a.m. or 5 a.m.
“So while it is a risk these candidates will not alienate voters this way, nevertheless it is incredibly inconsiderate. We would ask the candidates themselves to take the initiative to campaign considerately,” he said.