MANILA— The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reminded all candidates in the 2022 elections and their supporters that political rallies are still prohibited amid the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
In a statement, the DILG said special gatherings will only be allowed if permitted by the local government unit concerned, provided that all minimum health standards are observed.
"Bawal pa po ang mga political rally. Hindi pa po campaign period (Political rallies are still prohibited. It is not yet campaign period). We have been seeing candidates, both national and local, staging political rallies here and there which gather hundreds if not thousands of people," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said.
Año said the pandemic is not yet over and there is still the threat of the Omicron variant.
"We cannot put our guard down. The Omicron variant has already reached many countries and it’s only a matter of time before it reaches us,” he said.
Año urged candidates, political parties and their supporters to refrain from holding political rallies that may become super spreader events.
He explained that only caravans and motorcades were given the green light because there is physical distancing and these are usually held for a limited time. They are also held in open areas where the possibility of transmission of the coronavirus is small.
“There is a time for everything and now is not the time to gather a huge number of people. Let’s wait for the campaign period. We are fortunate na bumababa ang kaso sa ating bansa (that cases in the country are going down) but this is not the time to push our luck. COVID-19 is still here and we can’t be complacent,” he said.
The Commission on Elections earlier said the official campaign period starts on February 8, 2022 for national posts and March 25, 2022 for local elective positions.
“The trouble here is with the low number of COVID-19 cases, many have become complacent. Ipinapaalala natin sa mga kandidato at LGU, bawal pa ang mga political rallies,” Año said.
(We remind candidates and LGUs that political rallies are still prohibited.)