By Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo
THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday, January 28, 2022, urged candidates for the May national elections, as well as their supporters to adhere to the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) guidelines for the safe conduct of campaigning to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos told the candidates and supporters to police their ranks and ensure that they follow the minimum health protocols during physical campaigns, rallies, meetings, and other related activities.
“It will be an unprecedented campaign season, so we hope that the candidates will set an example to the public of how they should obey our campaign guidelines,” Carlos said.
Based on the guidelines issued by Comelec, in-person campaigning is not allowed in areas under Alert Levels 4 and 5, while candidates or campaign leaders must only be accompanied by a maximum of five campaign support staff in areas under Alert Level 2 and 3.
For Alert Level 1, there is no limit to the number of companions the candidates can have.
Among the prohibited acts under the in-person activities are entering private dwelling for house-to-house campaigning even with the owner’s permission, crowding, handshaking or other forms of physical contact, taking selfies or photographs that require proximity among people, and distributing food and drinks.
For bigger events such as caucuses, meetings, convention, rallies, and meeting de avance, 70 percent of the operational capacity of the venue, whether indoor or outdoor, is allowed for Alert Level 1; 50 percent in areas under Level 2; 50 percent of the operational capacity of the venue for enclosed outdoor only for Level 3; and 30 percent of the operational capacity of the venue for enclosed outdoors only for Level 4.
Such events were not allowed in areas under Level 5.
During motorcades in all category levels, stopovers, layovers, and other similar stoppages for the conduct of other election campaign activities are likewise not permitted.
Carlos also urged candidates to coordinate their upcoming events to the police for the deployment of personnel to ensure the safety of the attendees and the compliance to the campaigning protocols.
“Our police personnel shall exercise vigilance in monitoring election-related activities while maintaining our being apolitical,” he said.
The PNP also asked the public to help in reporting violations of the campaign provisions.
The campaign period for national candidates will begin on February 8, 2022. (SunStar Philippines)