Comelec monitors social media spending of candidates

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 18 2021 10:29 AM

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MANILA – The Commission on Elections on Monday said it is monitoring the social media spending of candidates, noting there is no law regulating election ads on social media.

"Sa social media titingnan lang natin kung magkano ang ginastos nila, yun lang. Wala silang limitasyon, sa dalas ng labas nila ng kanilang mga ads,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in an interview on TeleRadyo.

(On social media, we will only check how much they have spent for their ads, that is all. We have no limitations on how often their ads can appear.)

“Hindi ito katulad ng pagkokontrol o pagre-regulate ng Comelec like halimbawa, sa broadcast advertising, kung saan ang mga kandidato ay meron limitadong dami ng minutong puwedeng ilabas na advertising. Walang ganoong batas kasi for social.”

“So kung ang pag-uusapan natin ay regulation of social, social media campaigning, kailangan muna natin first and foremost, kailangan natin ng batas,” he added.

(This is not like the way we control or regulate spending on broadcast advertising, wherein they have a limited number of minutes allotted for advertising. There are no laws for social media campaigning. So when we talk about regulation of social media, we need a law first.)

He said, however, that they have been asking Congress for a law regulating political campaigns on social media since 2016.

“Matagal na actually, hiningi na namin yun 2016 pa lang,” he said.

“Hopefully, dahil makita nila na talagang napaka-urgent na ngayon, eh baka ngayon, gawan na natin ng paraan.”

(We asked for that already in 2016. Hopefully, because lawmakers see that it is urgent, they can find a way to pass it.)

Jimenez said they will be monitoring candidates’ spending on social media ads once the campaign period starts on February 8 for national candidates, and March 25 for local candidates. 

Several campaign teams have been working to drive more engagements in the social media pages of several political aspirants months before election day, as physical campaigning is expected to be limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A campaign strategist, however, said that having a strong social media presence, even during a pandemic, does not guarantee an election victory.

As part of innovations to adapt to the pandemic, the Comelec Education and Information and Education Department (EID) is also planning to provide a platform for free livestreaming of e-rallies of national candidates.

Each presidential, vice-presidential and senatorial candidate and party-list organization shall be allotted e-rally time.

At the start of the election period, on January 9, 2022, the EID shall release a schedule of e-rally time slots; the slots shall be assigned at random, based on the results of a televised raffle on January 8, 2022. 

Beginning February 6, 2022, two days before the official start of the campaign period, e-rallies shall be livestreamed every night on all Comelec official social media channels and accounts.

Three presidential and three vice presidential candidates with 10-minute slots, five senatorial bets with 3-minute slots, and 10 party-list candidates with 3-minute slots will be aired every night.

--TeleRadyo, 18 October 2021