DILG orders LGUs, PNP to enforce Comelec's campaign rules for 2022 polls

All local government units (LGUs) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are compelled to strictly enforce the election-related provisions imposed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) during the campaign period for the national candidates in the 2022 election starting on Feb. 8, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday, Jan. 27

The campaign period for candidates vying for local posts starts on March 25.

Año stressed that the LGUs and the PNP must be on top of ensuring that minimum public health standards (MPHS) are enforced depending on the alert level during in-person campaigns, rallies, caucuses, meetings and conventions; motorcades and caravans; and miting de avance.

“Sisiguraduhin po nating tumutupad ang mga LGU sa Comelec Resolution 10732 bilang pagtitiyak na magiging ligtas ang ating mga kababayan sa panahon ng kampanya (Let us make sure that the LGU are complying with COMELEC Resolution 10732 to ensure the safety of our countrymen in the midst of the pandemic). We are facing a much transmissible variant kaya naman hindi tayo dapat magpabaya maging ngayong panahon ng halalan (that is why we should not be complacent even during the election period),” Año said.

Año insisted that the public’s safety and health should be above all be the prime priority as he gave marching orders to the LGUs and the PNP to implement the COMELEC provision.

The COMELEC issued Resolution 10732 dated November 24, 2021 outlining the guidelines for the conduct of 2022 Election-related activities amid the new normal and the continuous threat of COVID-19’s omicron variant.

In an advisory, the DILG chief stated that the LGUs must adopt necessary measures and strategies to comply with the COMELEC Resolution; streamline existing LGU policies with the issuance and ensure the observance of the guidelines’ entirety within their locality.

“The 2022 Election is a very important event for the country but we must take into consideration that we are still currently battling an enemy that thrives in gatherings. We expect LGUs and the PNP to strictly enforce the poll guidelines,” Año said.

Meanwhile, the PNP was also called to maintain order and security in the implementation of thestrict observance of MPHS during any election-related campaigns in coordination with the barangay officials, tanods, and the Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs).

“Kailangang pagalawin ng mga LGU ang lahat ng kanilang law enforcement units upang tiyakin na magiging ligtas at malayo sa COVID-19 ang mga makikiisa nating kababayan sa mga kampanyang ito (The LGUs need to maximize the use of their law enforcement units to ensure the safety of the persons involved in the campaign and to assure that they are far from being infected by COVID-19),’’ Año said.

Año also pushed for impartiality and nudged the LGUs and the Municipal or City COMELEC Campaign Committee (M/CCCC)M/CCCC “to stay the course of public service and avoid politics in granting campaign permits to both national and local candidates alike.’’

“To the LGUs and M/CCCC, please avoid partiality and bias in granting approval for these campaign activities. Unahin po natin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan bago ang pamumulitika (Let us prioritize the public’s safety over politicking),” Año said.

Prohibited activities during campaign period

Año said that COMELEC Resolution 10732 states specific conditions and allowable campaign activities that LGUs and M/CCCC must implement "to safeguard both the citizens and candidates alike" during the campaign period.

"Depending on the alert level, kailangang maging mahigpit ang mga LGU at M/CCCC sa pagpapatupad ng resolusyon ng COMELEC (the LGU and M/CCCC must be strict in implementing the COMELEC resolution),’’ Año said.

The COMELEC Resolution states that in-person campaigning is not allowed in alert levels 4 and 5 areas while candidates or campaign leaders must only be accompanied by a maximum of five campaign support staff in alert level 2 and three for alert level 3.

For alert level 1, there's no limit to the number of companions the candidates can have.

He added that for in-house campaigning, entering any private dwelling during house-to-house campaigning, even with the express permission of the homeowner and crowding or allowing crowds that violate MPHS around the candidate and his or her companions are not allowed.

For caucuses, meetings, convention, rallies, and miting de avance, 70 percent of the operational capacity of the venue, whether indoor or outdoor is allowed for alert level 1; 50 percent of the operational capacity of the venue, whether indoor or outdoor for level 2; 50 percent of the operational capacity of the venue for enclosed outdoor only for level 3; 30 percent of the operational capacity of the venue for enclosed outdoors only for level 4 while for level 5, none among the gatherings mentioned are permitted.

During motorcades in all category levels, stopovers, layovers and other similar stoppages for the conduct of other election campaign activities are likewise not permitted.

In all alert levels, handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, or 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 and, distribution of food and drink and all other goods or items are not allowed in all campaign activities mentioned. (Chito A. Chavez)