Face-to-face campaign ban too restrictive, says Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines — The possible ban on face-to-face campaigning fo the 2022 election would be “too restrictive,” according to Senator Francis Pangilinan, who suggested that candidates instead be disqualified if health protocols are violated during their campaign sorties.
“I think that’s too restrictive. Perhaps they can prohibit itong large gatherings….Hindi naman ‘di mo pupwedeng harapin yung taumbayan sa kampanya. Paano mo ipapaliwanag [yung plataporma mo]?” Pangilinan told reporters in an online media forum.
(I think that’s too restrictive. Perhaps they can prohibit large gatherings…But candidates should not be prevented from facing the public during their campaign. How can they explain their platform?)
Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez earlier the possibility of banning face to face campaigning ahead of the May 2022 elections amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon later said face-to-face campaign activities may still be allowed but with strict physical distancing and health measures, adding that rules for election campaigning will depend on the policies of the country’s Covid-19 task force.
“‘Di naman lahat [may] Zoom, kalahati nga lang ng populasyon ang mayroong access sa magandang internet connection,” Pangilinan pointed out.
(Not everyone has access to Zoom, only half of the population have access to good internet connection.)
Pangilinan said small gatherings with 10 to up to 30 people should be allowed, provided that health protocols are followed.
“I understand we want to ensure the safety of the public and that health protocols are not compromised so maybe the middle ground there is you allow small face-to-face gatherings provided social distancing measures, the wearing of masks and other health protocols are observed,” he said.
Asked who should be held accountable if such gatherings get out of hand, Pangilinan pointed to the campaigning candidate.
“Yung kandidato ang dapat managot diyan primarily. Of course, may pananagutan din yung mga iba…Sa unang araw ng kampanya, meron nang violation, disqualify na yung kandidato, ‘di ba?” he said.
(The candidate should be primarily held accountable. Of course, others should also be responsible. If on the first day of campaign, there’s already a violation, that candidate should be immediately disqualified.)
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