By Martin Sadongdong
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday reminded national and local candidates to remove and dispose their campaign materials properly because failing to do so is tantamount to an election offense
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said that if candidates could spend so much money to produce and disseminate their posters, they should also be able to take it down themselves.
“Nananawagan ako sa mga kandidato, ang laki naman ng gastos niyo sa pagpalagay ng posters niyo, gumastos na rin kayo ng konti para tanggalin ang posters niyo at ilagay sa tamang basura (I am asking the candidates, if you can spend so much to display your posters, you should also spend a little to remove them and dispose them properly),” Guanzon told reporters before the resumption of the canvassing of the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) in Pasay City.
In Metro Manila alone, at least 145.42 tons of garbage, composed mainly of campaign posters and other paraphernalia, were collected on Tuesday, the day after the elections, according to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
Guanzon added that candidates could also do a good deed and recycle the plastic tarpaulins or donate them to homeless people who have no decent houses.
“O kaya i-recycle niyo ang mga tarpaulin niyo, ipamigay niyo sa mga taong walang bubong ang bahay o nasunugan (Or you can recycle your tarpaulins, give them to the homeless or those who are victims of fire),” she said.
“Bad manners po iyang nagkakalat kayo ng basura dyan. Tapos nanalo kayo o natalo iiwanan niyo ang posters niyo sa amin? Bakit kami naman ang maglilinis ng basura nila? (It’s bad manners to just let those garbages on the streets.
Whether you won or lost, does that mean you can leave your posters to us? Are we the ones responsible to clean your garbage?”,” she asked.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez echoed Guanzon’s sentiments as he said that candidates should help in the taking down of their posters and other campaign materials.
“Hey candidates, winners and also-rans — tapos na ang #NLE2019 [national and local elections]. Take down your posters na. #VoterEd,” Jimez said in a Twitter post.
According to the election rules, candidates should take down their campaign posters and other election paraphernalia immediately after the election day.
Guanzon warned that violating this election rule could mean disqualification of a winning candidate.
“Election offense na iyan na more than three days notice at hindi pa sila nagtanggal (That is already an election offense if after three days they still failed to remove their posters),” she said.
Guanzon said a monitoring committee will determine who among the national and local candidates failed to follow the said election rule.
“Kapag na-convict siya eh ‘di disqualification case siya (If he is convicted then he is up for a disqualification case),” she noted.
“Wala namang deadline [for the removal of posters] under the rules pero sana, lalo na yung mga panalo na, tanggalin na po nila ang posters nila at basura nila. Tutal panalo na naman na sila (There is no deadline [for the removal of posters] under the rules but I hope, especially those who already won, they would start taking down their posters and cleaing their garbages. In any case, they already won),” she concluded.