Comelec mulls AI ban on campaign materials in 2025 polls

Comelec wants AI ban on campaign materials ahead of 2025 polls

/ 12:14 PM May 29, 2024

This illustration picture shows icons of Google's AI (Artificial Intelligence) app BardAI (or ChatBot) (C-L), OpenAI's app ChatGPT (C-R) and other AI apps on a smartphone screen in Oslo, on July 12, 2023. STORY: Comelec wants AI ban on campaign materials ahead of 2025 polls

This illustration picture shows icons of Google’s AI (Artificial Intelligence) app BardAI (or ChatBot) (C-L), OpenAI’s app ChatGPT (C-R), and other AI apps on a smartphone screen in Oslo on July 12, 2023. —File photo by Olivier Morin | Agence France-Presse

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Wednesday that it was considering a ban on using artificial intelligence (AI) on campaign materials ahead of the 2025 elections.

READ: Meta to bar political advertisers from using generative AI ads tools 


Comelec Chairperson George Garcia confirmed the matter to in a text message.


“Yes, I am recommending to the en banc including the prohibition on the use of deepfakes in the conduct of the campaign by candidates, party lists, and political parties,” said Garcia.

He was responding to the question of whether he indeed would want a ban on AI use for election campaigns ahead of the 2025 midterm polls.

“At least, we can start the discussions and debates on the matter to come up with a policy on this,” he added.

In a memorandum dated May 28, Garcia pointed out that the threat of AI technology and “deep fake” is among the growing concerns of several election management experts.

“As a backgrounder, several heads of state, including our President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., have been the victims of AI deep fake videos to deceive viewers,” the memorandum reads.

“The abuse of Al technology and ‘deep fake’ videos undermines the integrity of elections and the credibility of public officials, candidates, and election management authorities,” it states.


“The abuse of this technology in campaign materials such as videos, audios, or other media forms may amount to fraudulent misrepresentation of candidates,” it notes.

“This defeats the very purpose of a campaign, which is to fully and truthfully inform the voting public about the elections and the candidates,” it concluded.

During the “Kapihan sa Manila Bay” forum held on Wednesday, some government officials shared their views on the matter.

READ: Agencies tackle media security during 2025 polls

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Comelec would need to clarify which parts of the election it was planning to ban the use of AI.

He said AI covers many applications, which could have positive and negative effects.

“We really need to narrow down what needs to be prohibited. Admittedly, AI is a moving target. AI is evolving every day, and a regulator such as Comelec needs to be fast,” Gatchalian said, speaking in a mix of English and Filipino.

“They have been studying its application, and they have seen that, by 2025, they would have to determine what AI may mess up our elections. Some applications may have positive effects, but they may also be harmful. So that’s what needs to be pinpointed specifically.”

But unlike Gatchalian, Comelec’s suggestion was questioned by former Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice.

In the same forum, Erice raised his concern about the possible lapses in regulating such a proposal.

“How will it be regulated? If a particular issue arises, the candidate will only say: That did not come from me. Right?” he said in Filipino.

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“So that’s just like the case of posters: It’s prohibited here, but some will keep putting them. Afterward, the candidates would say, ‘It’s not me who is putting up the posters. It’s my enemies.’”

TAGS: artificial intelligence, Commission on Elections

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