MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Epal Movement is hoping to widen its campaign against premature campaigning to the provinces but admitted that it lacks the budget.
Vince Lazatin, executive director of the Transparency and Accountability Network, said the group's activities is currently limited to Metro Manila and the Internet.
Lazatin noted politicians' posters and signages are even more prevalent in the provinces.
He said unlike in the provinces, the group's efforts are slowly gaining traction in Metro Manila, where several politicians have already removed their posters and covered their names or initials in certain infrastructures.
"Grabe sa probinsya, kasi wala halos nagbabantay sa probinsya. Wala pang nagpapatanggal sa probinsya, dito pa lang sa Metro Manila… Wala kaming pondo kaya medyo limited kami ngayon," Lazatin said.
Nonetheless, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has expressed interest in the group's efforts. He said Comelec chief Sixto Brillantes is also against politicians who habitually place their names in posters and signages.
Brillantes recognizes that Comelec's hands are tied when it comes to politicians practicing what is perceived as premature campaigning. Still, Brillantes made known to the group that they can still create awareness among the voting public.
"Hindi naman kailangan ng batas. Kung ayaw ng tao, ayaw natin, wala silang choice kung hindi sumunod sa utos natin," Lazatin said.
He said Comelec has already offered to make the group its citizen arm during the campaign period, when candidates must already abide by certain rules.