The zero waste advocacy group EcoWaste Coalition urged all agencies duly deputized by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to intensify the ongoing drive against illegal election campaign materials.
“As the campaign for the midterm polls enters the final stretch, we can expect more candidates and parties to step up their last-ditch efforts to woo voters regardless of the COMELEC rules on lawful election propaganda,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“To encourage respect for the rule of law, we urge agencies authorized by the COMELEC to conduct nonstop removal operations of posters and other campaign materials that are oversized or displayed in forbidden places,” she said.
“Despite repeated COMELEC warning, we find lots of campaign materials nailed or stapled on trees, or hanging in lamp posts, bridges, waiting sheds and other inappropriate places ,” she said.
Among the agencies designated by the COMELEC for the purpose of dismantling unlawful campaign materials are the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, Interior and Local Government, Public Works and Highways, and Transportation, the Metro Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine National Police.
On Saturday, the PNP reported tearing down over 245,000 oversized and misplaced election campaign materials nationwide.
“Taking down illegal campaign materials will promote an even playing field for all political aspirants and parties, as well as protect public health and the environment,” Lucero said.
The group likewise requested the Department of Education to reiterate the ban on posting or hanging of campaign materials within the school premises, which also serve as polling places, including grounds in front of a school as well as the fences, walls and sidewalks around it.
“We further request concerned agencies and the general public to recycle or repurpose election posters, leaflets and other propaganda materials to conserve resources and to cut the volume of election-related garbage requiring disposal,” she added.
COMELEC Resolution No. 10488 allows “posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, with an area not exceeding two feet by three feet," and prohibits the display of such posters “outside authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner.”
Among other places, election campaign posters are not allowed in “public places” such as “waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages and other signboards erected on public property, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, and center islands of roads and highways.”
The same resolution encourages parties and candidates “to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous chemicals and substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda.”