Comelec bars handshakes, kisses, selfies during in-person campaigns
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) released a set of guidelines for the conduct of campaign, rallies, caucuses, meetings, conventions, and miting de avance, as well as motorcades and caravan for the 2022 national and local elections.
Comelec, under Resolution No. 10732 that was promulgated on Wednesday but posted on poll body’s website on Thursday, outlined the rules of next year’s election campaign activities.
Under the Comelec resolution’s general provisions, the candidates and their campaign support staff are now considered as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) “regardless of alert level system and vaccination status.”
Those who are below 18 and above 65 years old as well as those with underlying conditions including pregnant women will not be allowed to join in any elections activities like campaign, rallies, caucuses, meetings, conventions, and miting de avance, as well as motorcades and caravan, according to the poll body.
The Comelec classified areas under category levels based on the different alert level classification.
Category 1 – New normal, or equivalent to Alert Level 1
Category 2 – Refers to Alert Level 2
Category 3 – Refers to Alert Level 3
Category 4 – Refers to Alert Level 4
Category 5 – Refers to Alert Level 5
The Comelec also formed the National Comelec Campaign Committee, Regional Comelec Campaign Committee, Provincial Comelec Campaign Committee, and Municipal/City Comelec Campaign Committees.
They are tasked to classify category levels in their respective jurisdictions; approve or disapprove applications for the conduct of election campaigns under the guidelines; monitor the conduct and prepare the reports about the election campaign; implement the other provisions of the guidelines and perform other functions determined by Comelec.
Allowable number of people, capacity
The poll body also set a limit on the number of people and capacity for in-person campaigns.
For in-person campaigns, there are no limits on the number of campaign support staff accompanying the candidates if the area is under Category Level 1.
A candidate or campaign leader may be accompanied by five people if they are under Category Level 2, and three campaign support staff under Category Level 3.
In-person campaigns are not allowed under Category Levels 4 and 5.
Comelec also provides restrictions for the operational capacity for caucuses, meetings, convention, rallies and miting de avance.
Candidates could use 70 percent of the operational capacity of an indoor or outdoor venue if they conducted their activities in areas under Category 1.
Fifty percent of the operational capacity whether indoor or outdoors are allowed under Category 2, while only 50 percent of enclosed outdoor activities are allowed in areas under Category 3.
Areas under Category 4 will be allowed to conduct their activities outdoors under enclosed outdoor activities with 30 percent capacity.
Any sort of meetings convention, rallies and miting de Avance will not be allowed under Category 5.
In person campaign
The Comelec also said the following activities will not be allowed under in-person campaigns regardless of category levels.
- Entering the private dwelling of a person during house-to-house campaigning, even if the homeowners acquiesced
- Handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, as well as any form of physical contact among the candidate, companions and the public
- Taking selfies, or pictures that would require close proximity between the candidate, companions and the public
- Distribution of food and drink, as well as other goods or items
- Likewise, said physical contact, taking of selfies and distribution of food and drink will not be allowed during the conduct of conventions, caucuses, meetings, miting de avance, and rallies, according to Comelec.
The Comelec also released the allowed passenger capacity of motorcades and caravans.
Any type of motorcades and caravans will not be allowed in areas under Category 5, according to Comelec.
For trucks, buses, mini trucks and jeepneys:
Category 1: 70 percent capacity
Category 2 and 3: 50 percent capacity
Category 4: 30 percent capacity
For service utility vehicles, sedans and owner type jeeps:
Category 1 and 2: full capacity allowed
Category 3 and 4: allowed up to 2 passengers per row and one in driver’s row
Category 1 and 2: full capacity
Category 3: One passenger in sidecar and one back ride
Category 4: One passenger in sidecar, no back ride allowed
Category 1 and 2: One backride passenger
Category 3 and 4: No back ride passengers
Those who were proven to have violated the rules could face imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years and shall not be subject to probation. Guilty parties shall be fined with no less than P10,000.
“In addition, the guilty party shall be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage,” the Comelec said.
The campaign period for the national positions will begin on February 8 to May 7, 2022 while members of the House of Representatives and elective provincial, city and municipal officials could conduct a campaign from March 25 to May 7, 2022.
The national and local elections will be held on May 9, 2022.
The full resolution could be accessed here.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.