Respect health protocols during campaign, Palace tells candidates, public

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MANILA, Philippines – A day before the start of the campaign period for local candidates, Malacañang on Thursday called on the public, as well as the candidates, to comply with the health protocols and guidelines established by the Electoral Commission (Comelec).

Acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar, however, said they remained “confident” that people will continue to be vigilant.

“We remain confident that people will continue to be vigilant as the local election campaign period begins. We therefore ask everyone, from candidates to the general public, to strictly adhere to the health and safety protocols and guidelines set by Comelec in the conduct of their political activities, including campaign rallies and in-person campaigns,” said he said in a statement.

He also said that although the campaign period will begin, the government will not slow down its COVID-19 vaccination program. The government aims to fully vaccinate 90 million Filipinos before President Rodrigo Duterte leaves office.

“This occasion is also a good reminder that there will be no slowdown in our COVID-19 vaccination campaign as we remain on track with our goal of having 90 million Filipinos fully immunized before the end. June 2022,” Andanar said.

The campaign period for local candidates will begin on March 25, while the campaign for national candidates began on February 8.

Under Comelec rules and guidelines, the buying and selling of votes, the removal or destruction of any legal election materials, the display of campaign materials outside authorized areas, the provision or receipt of transportation and of food during campaign outings and campaign during Holy Week or after the campaign period are all prohibited.

Candidates are also prohibited from any form of physical contact, such as hugging, shaking hands with people, as well as posing for selfies or group photos.

They were also warned against gathering in crowds, entering homes during door-to-door stops, and distributing food, drink “and all other goods and items”.


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