Comelec calls for trash-free campaign at low-cost

By Ferdinand Patinio

February 10, 2018, 5:49 pm

MANILA -- An official of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is reminding aspiring Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) and barangay officials who will participate in the May 14 polls to minimize their expenses, as such polls should be inexpensive.

“Barangay elections are supposed to be inexpensive. I mean, after all, if you think you have a shot at winning, and why would you file your candidacy if you didn’t, you must already be known to a vast majority of your electorate. Why would you need a lot of money just to tell them to vote for you? They’re either going to or they’re not, right?” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez wrote in a blog post.

“You only get to spend PHP5 per voter. Assuming a low-high estimate of, say 2,200 to 245,000 voters, that comes out to a campaign spending cap of PHP11,000 to PHP1.2M. Stay within those limits! Heck, if you spend even close to half of your spending cap, you’re already spending too much. Keep those costs down,” he added.

At the same time, the poll body official also urged aspiring SK and barangay officials to keep their campaigns trash-free by cleaning up their waste and minimize the use of campaign flyers and posters.

“There are lots of ways to do it. Minimize the flyering and postering, for instance. If you have to give out water bottles, which you absolutely are not required to do, (by the way) then make sure that you’ve also got people going around with garbage bags collecting the empties,” Jimenez said.

According to the election calendar released by the poll body, the election period will start on April 14 and will end on May 21, while the filing of the certificates of candidacy will be from April 14 to 20.

The nine-day campaign period is set to start on May 4 until May 12.

The poll body official also asked would-be candidates to keep their followers disciplined and not "easily irritated".

“In a situation like that it’ll be the candidate’s leadership, exercised through the campaign managers, that can prevent the taunting and heckling from escalating. Candidates should keep in mind that this sort of thing really happens, and they should take proactive steps to keep the peace,” he said.

“Talk to your supporters, prepare them for these situations and tell them to always keep calm and be the first to walk away. Talk to your opponents and agree - even away from the glare of Comelec attention – to abide by the peace accord (yet another inevitable fixture of barangay elections) strictly and in all good faith,” Jimenez added.

Jimenez also urged them to file their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE) on time.

“Win or lose, candidates have to submit a Statement of Contributions and Expenditures. If you don’t, you’re not going to get a Certificate of Compliance from the COMELEC; if you can’t present a Certificate of Compliance to the DILG, they’re not going to allow you to assume office – even if you won by a landslide,” Jimenez said.

“Remember, the SOCE requirement holds for both winners and losers. And if you say that you didn’t spend a thing, well then file a SOCE that says exactly that. It’s a simple enough thing to do, right?” he added. (PNA)