Comelec eyes ban on face-to-face campaign for 2022 elections
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is eyeing a ban on face-to-face campaigning for the May 2022 elections considering the persisting threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said Tuesday that there will certainly be “a change in the campaigning landscape” for the upcoming polls.
“Activities, like giving out materials or going out or talking to people face-to-face for campaign purposes — that’s gonna change. Door-to-door campaigns might be prohibited,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
While it is not yet official if such prohibition will be declared, Jimenez said the Comelec will be coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the matter.
“But certainly there will be changes in the way people do things. In a perfect world, yes, that sort of face-to-face campaigning would be strictly regulated, maybe even prohibited,” he added.
With this possible prohibition in view, Jimenez said the Comelec may instead promote online campaigning to help ensure the safety of voters against the spread of the new coronavirus.
“We are particularly concerned about face-to-face encounters between campaigners and the public because that’s where the spread is gonna happen,” he also said.
Asked if the candidates will be allowed longer screen time in television and radio advertisements, or more space in other avenues for the election campaign, Jimenez said: “It will require amending the law. That conversation is ongoing.”
He said there has not been an actual proposal for this but “preliminary conversations are happening right now.”
“I can’t say much about it yet but that is certainly a conversation that people are pushing. People feel that with the pandemic in full force, we are going to need more campaign minutes online but again that will require legislation,” he added.
The Comelec has so far recorded about 1.3 million voter applications as of Monday, according to Jimenez. The poll body is eyeing to have four million new voters for the elections next year, with voter registration ending on September 30.
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