READ: Comelec's dos and don'ts for Halalan 2022 in-person campaigning

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 25 2021 07:01 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo OVP Handout
Vice President Leni Robredo is greeted with a fiesta-like welcome upon arriving in Cebu City on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021. OVP Handout/file

MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) officially released Thursday the "new normal" campaign guidelines specifically crafted in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guidelines laid out rules for the following Halalan 2022 activities:

  • In-person campaigning
  • Holding of political meetings, caucuses, conventions, rallies, and miting de avance
  • Motorcades and caravans.

ALERT LEVEL SYSTEM

The poll body came up with five "in-person" category levels, depending on an area’s alert level classification from the IATF.

  • Level 1 - no restrictions nor limits for in-person campaigning
  • Level 2 - a maximum of 5 companions plus the candidate
  • Level 3 - 3 companions plus the candidate 
  • Level 4 and 5 - no in-person campaigns are allowed 

Handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm and other actions involving physical contact are strictly prohibited; as well as distribution of food, drinks, and other goods or items.

Proof of identity of the candidates’ companions must be presented to the Comelec Campaign Committee (CCC) for in-person campaigning, as well as details of the activity.

Caucuses, meetings, conventions, rallies and miting de avance are limited to up to 70 percent of the venue capacity for level 1; up to 50 percent venue capacity for level 2; up to 50 percent capacity for level 3 but only for enclosed outdoor venues; and 30 percent capacity still for enclosed outdoor venues only for level 4.

Caucuses, meetings, conventions, rallies and miting de avance are barred in level 5.

Handshakes, hugs, going arm-in-arm and other similar physical contacts are prohibited, as well as taking of selfies and photographs that require close proximity among candidates and supporters.

Distribution of food, drinks, and other goods or items is also not allowed.

Proof of venue reservation must be presented to the CCC as well as details of the activity.

For motorcades and caravans, the following are the guidelines:

  • Trucks, buses, mini-trucks, jeepneys : up to 70 percent capacity for level 1; up to 50 percent capacity for levels 2 and 3; and 30 percent for level 1.
  • Service utility vehicles, sedans, owner-type jeepneys: full capacity for levels 1 and 2; up to 2 passengers per row and one passenger on the driver’s row for levels 3 and 4; and prohibited in level 5 areas.
  • Tricycles: full capacity for levels 1 and 2; one passenger in the sidecar and one backride passenger for level 3’ one passenger in the sidecar but no backride passenger for level 4; and prohibited in level 5 areas.
  • Motorcycles: one backride passenger for levels 1 and 2; no backride passemnger for levels 3 and 4; and no allowed in level 5.

Motorcades and caravans are prohibited in areas under level 5.

Only candidates, campaign leaders and supporters belonging to the same household are allowed in the same vehicle.

COMELEC CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE

All these types of campaigning must obtain a permit from the applicable CCC (national, regional, provincial, city/municipal).

The committee has 48 hours to act on the applications.

For the strict observance of COVID-19 protocols, the Comelec deputizes barangay officials, tanods and members of the barangay health emergency response team (BHERT); the PNP and AFP are also deputized to maintain order and security during the campaign activities.

As part of reportorial requirements, candidates or their duly authorized representative/s must submit an affidavit of compliance to the CCC.

ELECTION OFFENSE

Violations of the guidelines shall constitute as an election offense.

These offenses are punishable with 1 to 6 years imprisonment, without possibility of probation; disqualification from holding public office and deprivation of the right to suffrage; if a foreigner, the violator shall be sentenced to deportation which shall be enforced after service of prison term.

Any political party found guilty of violating any of the guidelines shall pay a fine of not less than P10,000.