DILG to issue guidelines on pre-campaign period activities

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año on Sunday said he will issue guidelines to local government units (LGUs) pertaining to the activities of electoral candidates ahead of the start of the campaign period in February next year.

“Ako mismo maglalabas ako ng guidelines para sa mga LGUs ano yung mga panuntunan kapagka may caravan at saka merong motorcade diyan sa inyong area at ano ang dapat babantayan natin at hindi papayagan (I myself will issue guidelines to LGUs, what are the rules when there is a caravan and motorcade in your area and what we should watch out for and not allow),” Año said in a radio interview when sought for his comment on various campaign activities being conducted by candidates, particularly those running for national positions in Metro Manila.

Aside from causing traffic congestion, some caravans and motorcades have been observed to be participated in by people who do not adhere to health protocols such as physical distancing.

Based on the calendar of activities released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the start of the campaign period is on Feb. 8, 2022 for national candidates and March 25 for local candidates.

Año said it was agreed upon that motorcades and caravans would now be governed by certain guidelines with only designated lanes allowed to be occupied as the first and foremost rule.

He added that the assembly area should be identified and the exact take-off time be observed, with no programs nor unnecessary stoppage during the activity.

“Tuluy-tuloy dapat (travel) yan, free-flowing yan at hindi kayo mag occupy ng ibang lane na hindi naibigay sa inyo at kung anong oras ang tinakda, doon lang kayo. Hindi pupuwedeng magtatagal at yung lahat ng dadaanan ninyo na ruta dapat alam ng LGU and at anytime kung meron tayong nakitang paglabag pupuwedeng i-stop yan. (It should be continuous and free-flowing and you should not occupy the other lanes that were not assigned to you and you should be present at your assigned time. The activity should not be prolonged and the LGU must be informed of your route, and if we see violations, we could stop the activity),’’ Año pointed out.

In case of a breach in protocols, he said the law enforcers would run after the organizers and “then if no action from the LGU puwede rin natin habulin yung LGU diyan and of course siyempre dapat may accountability din yung mga personality na kumakandidato (we can run after the LGU, then if they take no action, we can go after them and of course, the personalities and candidates should be accountable also)” since they are the principals in the political activity.

Año maintained that their role is only to implement the existing laws and regulations based on the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) guidelines.

“So doon tayo sa health protocol aspect pero ang maganda naman nagkaroon na rin tayo ng mga pag-uusap at pagbibigay ng talakayan sa mga political parties na ito at sila naman ay nangako na susunod sa pinag uutos ng batas at ng IATF (So our focus is on the health protocol aspect but the good thing about this is we had a dialogue and exchange of views with the political parties and they promised to follow the law as stipulated in the IATF regulations),’’ he said.

He noted that political party representatives promised to impose “self-policing” and “self-restriction” during the coordination meetings, adding that what the Philippine National Police (PNP) and LGUs can do is only to implement the minimum public health standards.

“Sa MMDA (Metropolitan Manila Development Authority), LGUs, sa PNP at maraming rules doon na nai-set nila na magpo-protect naman sa mga kababayan natin (The MMDA, LGUs, in the PNP and they have set many rules that will protect our countrymen),” he added.

Año said in areas placed under Alert Level 2, outdoor assembly is allowed at 70 percent capacity as long as the minimum health standards are observed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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