Pols to pay non-news airtime

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday warned candidates for the 2019 midterm polls that their appearances in non-news programs will be considered as advertising time.

In a statement, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said that candidates who will appear in non-news programs and advertisements done by social media influencers should include the cost of their screen time in their Statement of Campaign Expenditures.

“An appearance in a non-news program is monetized. It is commoditized. It has value. Because what is the purpose of appearance? It is to promote the person, create a better name recall,” Jimenez said.

The poll body mouthpiece earlier disclosed that national candidates only have 120 minutes or two hours per television station and 180 minutes or two hours and 30 minutes for radio stations while local candidates have 60 minutes total airtime for television and 80 minutes for radio.

As for influencers, Jimenez said that while endorsements could be perceived as advocacy, the patterns of behavior on social media would tell the difference and noted that the poll body will send out guidelines on reporting campaign expenses to candidates within the week.

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