EcoWaste Coalition Dares Parties and Candidates to Run a COVID-Safe, Fair and Eco-Friendly Poll Campaign

The environmental health group EcoWaste Coalition pitched for a COVID-safe, fair and eco-friendly poll campaign as national candidates officially hit the campaign trail starting February 8 until May 7, except on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday

“We challenge all presidential, vice presidential, senatorial and party list candidates to comply with essential health protocols as they garner public support to avoid the spread of COVID-19, as well as follow fair and eco-friendly election rules to prevent campaign malpractices and environmental degradation,” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We call on all candidates anew to put the protection of public health and the environment on center stage amid the pandemic as they do the rounds of cities and municipalities to woo voters.  Please follow Comelec Resolutions 10730 and 10732 to the letter,” he added.

Comelec Resolution 10732 provides the guidelines for the conduct of in-person campaign, rallies, caucuses, meetings and conventions, motorcades and caravans, and miting de avance that candidates should strictly observe along with the preventive measures for COVID-19 as set by the Department of Health, while Comelec Resolution 10730 contains the necessary rules and regulations promoting fair election practices in line with Republic Act No. 9006, or the Fair Elections Act.

Toward a COVID-safe, fair and eco-friendly campaign, the EcoWaste Coalition urged parties and candidates and their supporters to heed the following reminders:
  1. Strictly adhere to COVID-19 preventive health protocols as advised by the authorities.
  2. Ensure compliance to the required rules for election campaign activities corresponding to the prevailing COVID-19 alert level in a given area.
  3. Abide by the rules on lawful propaganda materials and other fair election practices.
  4. Go for environment-friendly, recyclable or compostable campaign materials, and avoid those containing hazardous chemicals.  
  5. Use recycled paper instead of virgin paper for leaflets, posters, and sample ballots.
  6. Add in the reminder “Para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin," or its equivalent in local languages, in campaign materials.
  7. Do not hang, nail or tack banners and posters on trees, plants, shrubs and other unauthorized places. 
  8. Take down illegal campaign materials without waiting to be told.
  9. Do not leave garbage during campaign sorties; make every campaign event litter-free, plastic-free and also smoke- and vape-free.
  10. Shun balloons, confetti, firecrackers and fireworks, and conduct post-event cleanup right away.
  11. Refrain from using single-use disposable plastics for volunteers' meals and the like.
  12. Safely reuse, repurpose or recycle campaign materials, and do not simply dump or burn them.
The EcoWaste Coalition emphasized that Section 7 of Comelec Resolution 10730 prohibits parties and candidates from posting, displaying or exhibiting campaign materials or paraphernalia outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places or in private properties without the consent of the owner.  It will also be unlawful to put up posters and related campaign materials on  trees, plants and shrubs along public roads and in plazas, parks, school premises or in any other public grounds.

Also, Section 7 of the said resolution encourages parties and candidates to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda.  They likewise need to comply with local government regulations governing the use of plastic and other similar materials.

“While the rules do not forbid parties and candidates from using plastic tarpaulins, which may contain harmful chemical ingredients like cadmium, we appeal to parties and candidates to temper their use of such problematic campaign materials, get more creative and always keep public health and the environment in mind,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.