Thursday, December 24, 2015

COMMON POSTER AREA


Republic Act No.9006 otherwise known as the Fair Election Act provides in Section 9 that, “The COMELEC may authorize political parties and party-list groups to erect common poster areas for their candidates in not more than ten (10) public places such as plazas, markets, barangay centers and the like, wherein candidates can post, display or exhibit election propaganda: Provided, That the size of the poster areas shall not exceed twelve (12) by sixteen (16) feet or its equivalent.
Independent candidates with no political parties may likewise be authorized to erect common poster areas in no more than ten (10) public places, the size of which shall not exceed four (4) by six (6) feet or its equivalent.”
The Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines also known as Batas Pambansa 881, Section 91 likewise provides that, “Whenever practicable, the Commission shall also designate and provide for a common poster area in strategic places in each town wherein candidates can announce and further their candidacy through posters, said space to be likewise allocated free of charge, equally and impartially by the Commission among all the candidates concerned.”
The Commission on Elections once explained that a common poster area does not refer to a post, a tree, the wall of a building or an existing public structure that is in active use, but a structure, that is temporarily set up by the candidates or political parties for the exclusive purpose of displaying their campaign posters which should be allocated equitably and impartially among the candidates.
Common Poster Areas are public places authorized by the Commission on Elections or private places (with consent of the owner) where every candidate may post any lawful election propaganda material with a size not to exceed two feet by three feet (2’x3’) only.
Relative to the May 09, 2016 Automated Synchronized National and Local Elections the Comelec sets the campaign period for the national candidates (senators and party list participants) starts on February 09, 2016 and for local candidates on March 25, 2016.
Within this period we can observe again the wanton violations of campaign election laws and regulations due to the proliferation of illegally posted campaign materials in our midst which we are not aware whether the candidate or its campaign staff is ignorant of the provisions of election laws regarding the matter. Or that they are just ignoring said laws because as we have already noted violations of the fair election act has been going on even before the start of the election period. Perhaps the rationale behind anti-epal movement were given due birth.
Every election period, by experience, proliferation of illegally posted election propaganda materials starts on the campaign period of national candidates and thus being emulated and followed by the local candidates in time of their campaign period.

The posting of campaign materials in public places outside of the designated common poster areas such as streets, bridges, public structures or buildings, trees, electric posts or wires, schools, shrines, main thoroughfares and the like is prohibited. Persons posting the same shall be held liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting. It will be presumed that the candidates caused the posting of campaign materials outside the common poster areas if he does not remove the same within three (3) days from notice which shall be issued by the Election Officer of the city or municipality where the unlawful election propaganda are posted or displayed.

Usually, the Commission on Elections authorizes the creation of Task Force to Tear Down and Remove Unlawful Election Material with the duties and functions to tear down and remove campaign propaganda materials posted in public places outside the common poster areas, illegal campaign materials wherever posted or displayed, monitor and watch out for persons posting or distributing unlawful election paraphernalia. The Task Force members are authorized to apprehend violators caught in the act, and file the appropriate charges against the said violators.

Do we have to be with this scenario? We hope not! Therefore, every candidate and their staff are enjoined to conduct a responsible campaign by abiding the rules and regulations set forth by the Commission on Elections.

VOTERS' PLEDGE

I am a Responsible and Principled Citizen.

I will educate myself and others about the issues at hand so that my vote is a meaningful and relevant exercise of my right of suffrage.

I pledge to vote for candidates who will abide by the duly constituted rules on campaigning because I understand that those who refuse to obey the law in the little things are not likely to obey the law in the more important things;

I pledge to vote for candidates who, by word and action, renounce violence, coercion, vote-buying, and corruption as means for getting elected;

I pledge to vote for the candidates who listen to their constituents and are responsive to the needs and aspirations of those they seek to represent;

I pledge to vote as my conscience dictates in all elections.

I make these promises freely and upon my honor.

(This Voter Pledge was read at the Unity Walk of 13 January 2013, by COMELEC Commissioner Elias R. Yusoph)

SOURCE: NAMFREL