Cebu City candidates urged to remove illegal campaign materials by April 12

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Campaign posters hang from a pole along Escario Street in Cebu City. | File photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The Electoral Commission (Comelec) is set to begin April 12 the removal of illegal campaign posters across the province of Cebu.

But before that, acting election official Marilous Paredes of Cebu City’s Southern District Election Office, is asking candidates here to order the removal of their own campaign posters already to avoid sanctions under the omnibus election code.

Posting campaign posters that do not conform to the authorized size and in unauthorized places is considered an election offence.

Paredes also said that for a campaign poster to be considered legitimate, it must contain the name of the person who had it printed.

“Sa Oplan Baklas, we will remove illegally posted campaign material like sa trees, poles, government buildings. But it’s private [property]naa mai TRO, we’ll just take pictures and send them [the candidates] notice,” Paredes said.

Posters of national and local candidates for the May 2022 elections were displayed in areas where they can be seen by voters well before the official start of the national campaign period on February 8 and the local campaign period on March 25 .

“We will send candidates a notice of [implementation of] Operation Baklas. Kahibaw na man sila ana, aware of the do’s and don’ts,” Paredes said.

Paredes said she would appreciate candidates heeding her call to remove their unauthorized campaign materials. And they should do it before April 12, she added.

She said that in addition to being an election offence, the unauthorized display of election materials, in most cases, also causes conflict between neighbors, especially if they support opposing candidates.

Applicants should always seek permission from owners before beginning to hang their posters.

Private owners have every right to remove posters that are hung on their property without their consent.

Meanwhile, Paredes said, they are also investigating concerns about the inclusion of some of the candidates’ faces on tarpaulins printed for a government program or campaign.

She specifically refers to the inclusion of Mayor Michael Rama’s face on tarps that have been hung at the various sites here as part of the city’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

“Ato usang iaasses kay in progress during the pandemic. A Wala man says nakabutang nga vote, pero kung tangtangon nila, mas maayo,” Paredes said.

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