Comelec: Candidates’ presence in non-news shows deemed ‘advertising time’
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) reminded candidates for the midterm polls that their appearances in non-news programs would be considered advertising time.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said on Tuesday that candidates should include the cost of their appearances in non-news programs and advertisements done by social media influencers in their Statement of Campaign Expenditures.
“An appearance in a non-news program is monetized. It is commoditized. It has value. Kasi, anong purpose ng appearance (Because what is the purpose of appearance)? It is to promote the person, create a better name recall,” Jimenez said in a press conference.
“We have reporting mechanisms to track the airtime and the corresponding value. That has to be accounted for, every second of the show,” he added.
Jimenez earlier said that national candidates only have 120 minutes or 2 hours per television station and 180 minutes or 2 hours and 30 minutes for radio stations.
Local candidates, meanwhile, have 60 minutes total airtime for television and 80 minutes for radio.
As for influencers, Jimenez said that while endorsements could be perceived as advocacy, the patterns of behavior on social media would tell the difference.
“The way social media influencers are operating, they are paid as part of the public relations package of firms out there. ‘Yung iba, gume-guerrilla (Others use guerrilla tactics), they are sly or less formal. It is more challenging to spot, but it is not impossible to detect,” Jimenez said.
“We will look at overall patterns of behavior. We will look at the material as a whole: if it is an endorsement of a candidate or the intent is to endorse of rather than being a part of greater advocacy. We will be narrowing the field with that,” he added.
The Comelec said it would send out guidelines on reporting campaign expenses to candidates within the week.
The campaign period for national and local candidates starts on February 12 and March, 30, respectively.
Campaigning, meanwhile, will end on May 11 or two days before the election day. /ee/ac
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