MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Elections (Comelec) warned candidates to strictly abide by the propaganda rules set by the poll body as the campaign for the local elections kicked off Friday.
"We know that before March 26 candidates can put posters and streamers anywhere, but now that the campaign period has officially started we (the Comelec) will have to control it," Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
Jimenez said that as local bets gear for the campaign, the Comelec is also preparing monitoring teams that would go around different localities and take pictures of campaign posters and streamers placed in prohibited areas.
He said that it is unlawful to place campaign propaganda materials on trees and electric posts. He said propaganda materials should only be placed in Comelec-identified common poster areas.
Comelec legal chief Ferdinand Rafanan had disclosed during the kickoff of the campaign for the national elections last month that common poster areas include plazas, markets and barangay centers.
Rafanan said posters are also prohibited in schools, government offices and churches.
"We will go around. Candidates who will not abide by the rules should be ready to face the consequences," Jimenez said.
Jimenez also reminded candidates to abide by the allowable sizes of posters set by the Comelec.
The Comelec said posters and streamers should be not more than 2 feet by 3 feet while pamphlets, leaflets, cards and stickers should not exceed 8 1/2 inches by 14 inches.
The poll body also reminded incumbent local officials who are running in May 10 that they are not allowed to appoint or hire new employees, declare new positions and implement promotions and salary increases.
Jimenez told the voters to include the local candidates' strict observance of election rules in their criteria for choosing their candidates.
"This early, candidates should know how to abide by the law," he said.