Comelec to ban baby-kissing, shaking hands, other virus-spreading campaign stunts
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday said campaign-trail clichés like kissing babies and shaking hands will not be allowed during the election season as COVID-19 is still a concern.
During a forum of the House Committee on People’s Participation, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez explained that although mass gatherings cannot be banned “outright,” many restrictions will be imposed in light of the current pandemic.
“Obviously, mass gatherings cannot be banned outright. However, we can restrict them, and restrict them we will,” he said during the forum.
Jimenez said, ” distributing food and “public displays of affection” like shaking hands and kissing babies will also not be allowed anymore.
“One of the high points of a political rally is distributing food to the people who are attending,” he said, “well, we will not be allowing food to be served at mass gatherings anymore.”
“Public displays of affection used to be parts of the idea of a campaign,” he added. “Politicians go out to shake hands, and kiss babies, you’re not gonna be able to do that anymore, because that is a very risky behavior.”
The poll body said the campaign period for national positions would begin next year.
Candidates running for president, vice president, senator, and party-list groups are allowed to campaign from Feb. 8 to May 7 or 90 days before the polls.
On the other hand, local candidates could campaign from March 25 to May 7, or 45 days before the elections.
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