Lingayen- - -Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. has directed all local chief executives in Pangasinan to strictly enforce COMELEC Resolution No. 8758, which governs the publication, broadcast, or posting of political advertisements or propaganda materials.
This developed after the provincial COMELEC headed by Atty. Reddy Balarbar requested the Governor to enjoin all local chief executives throughout the province to observe fair election practices in order to ensure the holding of free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible elections.
Balarbar said Resolution 8758 provides for the establishment of common poster areas in public places and allows the posting of lawful campaign materials in “private places provided it has the consent of the owner thereof.”
The resolution, he said further prohibits the posting of campaign materials in public places outside the designated common poster areas such as streets, bridges, public structures or buildings, trees, electric posts or wires, schools, shrines, main thoroughfares and the like.
During the Special Talakayan sa Kapitolyo on February 24, Balarbar said that under the law, the local government units are deputized to strictly implement the resolution which means that the LGUs are authorized to prevent, tear down or remove all illegally posted campaign propaganda materials without any partiality.
He cited that since the campaign period for the national candidates has started last February 9, the COMELEC observed that many campaign materials are posted or hanged outside the designated common poster areas serving as eyesore to the public.
The launching of the COMELEC project dubbed Operation Baklas, he said, can help instill discipline among the electoral candidates as well as their supporters.
“This time, the COMELEC will strictly and seriously implement this,” he disclosed as he said that violation of the said resolution can even lead to the disqualification of the concerned candidate.
The COMELEC provincial officer likewise said his office has sought the assistance of the local government units due to lack of manpower to put things in order pertaining to the posting of campaign materials.
“Mas maganda kasi kung sama-sama at tulong-tulong ang mga tao para mailagay sa kaayusan ang darating na eleksyon at mapaganda ang kapaligiran ,” Balarbar said as he added that they will designate common posting areas in every locality.
As a general rule, Balarbar said there will be one common posting area for every barangay but if there are areas where people converged, then additional areas will be allowed.
Common poster areas include the plaza, public market and even residential houses if the owner gives their consent.
Under the Operation Baklas, a composite team was organized to assist the LGUs. The DENR will take charge on all illegally placed campaign materials posted on trees while DPWH will look after illegally posted materials along major thoroughfares.
Electric cooperatives, on the other hand, will take charge of all illegally posted campaign paraphernalia placed on electric posts. Each team will be accompanied by two PNP personnel during their rounds.
At the start of the local campaign period on March 26, all illegally posted materials will be removed including advertisement posters or streamers of any candidate, which, according to Balarbar, indirectly solicit votes.
Allowed size of campaign poster is 2 ft. x 3 ft.(PIO/Ruby R. Bernardino)