MANILA, Philippines – Easier said than done.
The head of the Department of Public Works and Highways-Southern Tagalog office was referring to the enforcement of the Commission on Elections Resolution No. 9858, which deputized the DPWH to assist the poll body in “removing all unlawful election materials nationwide.”
DPWH Region 4 director Huilio Belleza on Sunday said “our field personnel can’t do it alone.”
Asked why, he warned: “It’s not that easy. Baka mapatay ang mga tao namin ng mga pulitiko o ng mga tauhan nila. (Politicians or their supporters might kill our men.)You can never tell.”
Citing “feedback from DPWH field personnel,” Belleza disclosed “if you tear down today campaign materials posted in areas not designated by Comelec, similar materials would appear in the same areas the following day.”
He called for “joint operations by Comelec, DPWH and Philippine National Police teams in enforcing the Comelec resolution.”
“Last Tuesday, we met with (DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson) about the problem. Next Tuesday, we’re meeting with DPWH personnel in our respective areas of jurisdiction to discuss our game plan,” Belleza told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
When interviewed, the DPWH official pointed out that “campaign materials belonging to both administration and opposition candidates
were observed to be posted in non-Comelec designated areas not only in Region 4 but also in other regions nationwide.”
In Batangas City alone, the propaganda materials include those endorsing the candidacy of mayoral bet Eduardo Dimacuha; actor and Liberal Party congressional candidate Christopher de Leon and his rival Ranie Abu; and the partylist AVE, among others.
Late last month, the DPWH said it would tear down all illegally placed poll materials throughout the country.
In a memo, Singson also ordered the banning and removal of election propaganda materials, especially those posted on road and bridge railings, road signage, bridge approaches and other public structures.
He later issued a handwritten directive reminding DPWH officials to “strictly enforce the Comelec ban.”
“These materials pose danger to motorists because the road safety signages are peppered with propaganda materials. Oftentimes, the traffic directional signs cannot be read legibly by motorists,” he said.
The DPWH campaign is the agency’s “way of supporting the anti-epal campaign, or the citizens’ call to politicians not to use public structures as accessory resources to drumbeat their election bids,” Singson added.