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Campaigning with a twist

Crowding is not allowed, as well as handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, or any action that involves physical contact among the candidates and his or her companions, and the public

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This year 2022 will define the next six years of our country, our people, and our destiny. The power of choice is once again given to Filipinos who are charged with electing the right people to steer this nation into what this country is destined to be. This will be the first election in Philippine history, however, that is fraught with additional campaign restrictions to stem the tide of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the recent surge of the Omicron variant as the backdrop for the approaching campaign period, candidates and political parties must put in mind Comelec Resolution 10732, otherwise known as the “Guidelines for the Conduct of: 1. In-person campaign, 2. Rallies, 3. Caucuses, meetings, and conventions, 4. Motorcades and caravans, and 5. Miting de avance under the new normal in connection with the 9 May 2022 National and Local Elections.

These restrictions, prohibitions, and guidelines will only be effective and implemented once the period of the campaign starts. For national candidates, this will be from 8 February until 7 May 2022. For local bets, it will only start on 25 March up to 7 May 2022.

Rule II Sec. 3 of the said resolution qualifies all candidates and their campaign support staff of voting age who are going out to participate in the campaign as Authorized Persons Outside of Residence during the campaign period. Sec. 4 of the same rule requires those who are to participate in election campaigns to wear full-coverage face shields together with masks and like protective gear although subject to the prevailing IATF-MEID guidelines and must observe minimum public health standards at all times during the period of the political activity.
Sec. 5 also enumerates persons who are strictly prohibited from joining the said election campaign who are those below 18 years or over 65 years old, immunodeficient, suffering from comorbidities, or who affected by other health risks.

Rule IV of the said resolution gives category levels that are somewhat in parallel with the IATF Alert level scheme and the restrictions that come with it. One notable restriction is that in-person campaign is not allowed for those in categories 4 and 5, while caucuses, meetings, conventions, rallies, and miting de avance are not allowed for those in category 5.

Candidates should be made aware that Sec. 14 prohibits candidates from entering private dwellings in house-to-house campaigning. Crowding is not allowed, as well as handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, or any action that involves physical contact among the candidates and his or her companions, and the public, taking selfies, photographs, and other similar activities that require close proximity among candidates and their companions, and the public, and distribution of food and drinks, and all other goods or items.

Sec. 15 on the other hand enumerates prohibited activities for conventions, caucuses, meetings, miting de avance and rallies which include handshakes, hugs, going arm-in-arm, or any action that involves physical contact among the candidates, their companion, and the public, taking selfies, photographs and other similar activities that require close proximity between the candidates and the public is likewise prohibited, and the distribution of food and drink, and all other goods or items.

Sec. 16 also mentions those capacity limitations for each type of vehicle depending on the category level which must be observed subject to the category level of the place where the motorcades or caravans will take place. It also mentions that only those who belong to the same household are allowed to be in the same vehicle. It also prohibits stopovers, layovers, and other similar stoppages during the conduct of the motorcades and handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm, or any action that involves physical contact among the public. Taking selfies, photographs, and similar activities that require close proximity with the public and the distribution of food and drinks, and other items are also not allowed.

Note that contents of this Resolution are GUIDELINES institutionalizing the new normal in the conduct of the new normal campaigning which must be strictly observed together with the minimum public health standards prescribed by the Department of Health. For our national and local candidates who will be campaigning these coming days, may all of you keep safe and campaign responsibly for the welfare and safety of the Filipino voters.

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