Thursday, February 7, 2013

VOTER'S VIGILANCE

Isumbong sa Comelec
Category: Opinion, Business Mirror
Published on Tuesday, 05 February 2013 19:49
Written by James Jimenez 
WITH a mere six days to go before the start of the official campaign period for candidates running for national positions, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has been constantly repeating its call for voter vigilance, particularly in the matter of reporting campaign violations, among other things, as described in Comelec Resolution 9615.

The key to clean and fair campaigning is still the vigilance of the individual voter. And so it is the individual voter who will be the most effective vanguard of the Comelec’s efforts to
monitor compliance with the campaign rules for the 2013 national and local elections. And with a mere six days to go before the start of the official campaign period for candidates running for national positions, the Comelec is ramping up its call for all concerned citizens to be on the lookout for the signs of illegal campaigning that they might spot on their way to and from work, school, or wherever they routinely spend their days.

The idea, of course, is that being a vigilant voter does not necessarily mean going out of one’s way to seek out violations. If everybody pitches in, then it would be enough that individuals be observant even as they go about their ordinary business and travel their daily routes. If each voter were to take responsibility for even just that stretch of road, the awakened Filipino electorate can send a very powerful message to all candidates: We are watchful, we are discerning, and we will vote for those who callously disregard campaign rules.

The violations aren’t very difficult to spot either. Here’s a short list of violations that ordinary citizens can easily detect and report:

•         Campaigning on Maundy Thursday, March 28.
•         Campaigning on Good Friday, March 29.
•         Campaigning on the eve of Election Day, May 12.
•         Campaigning on Election Day, May 13.
•         Printed materials such as leaflets that are larger than legal-sized bond paper, i.e., 8 ½ inches in width and 14 inches in length.
•         Posters made of cloth, paper, cardboard or any other material, whether framed or posted, measuring more than 2 feet by 3 feet.
•         The use of hazardous materials in campaign materials and the use of plastics in cities and municipalities where plastics are banned.
•         The absence of the words “political advertisement paid for,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the candidate or party for whose benefit the election propaganda was printed or aired; and “political advertisements paid by,” followed by the true and correct name and address of the payor.
•         The showing, display or exhibition in a theater, television station, or any public forum any movie, cinematography or documentary portraying the life or biography of a candidate, or in which a character is portrayed by an actor or media personality who is himself a candidate.
•         The posting, display or exhibition of any election campaign or propaganda material outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private property without the owner’s consent.

It is important to note that “public places” include any of the following: electronic announcement boards, such as LED display boards located along highways and streets, LCD TV displays posted on walls of public buildings, and other similar devices which are owned by local government units, government-owned and -controlled corporations, or any agency or instrumentality of the government;  motor vehicles used as patrol cars, ambulances, and other  similar purposes that are owned by local government units, government-owned and -controlled corporations, and other agencies and instrumentalities of the government, particularly those bearing red license plates; waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lampposts, electric posts and wires, traffic signages and other signboards erected on public property, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers and underpasses, bridges, main thoroughfares, center islands of roads and highways; schools, shrines, barangay halls, health centers, public structures and buildings or any edifice thereof; public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, trains, taxi cabs, ferries, pedicabs and tricycles, whether motorized or not; and within the premises of public transport terminals, such as bus terminals, airports, seaports, docks, piers, train stations and the like.

The public can report any of these violations through any of the following means: by landline telephone, through 527-5574, 525-9345 and 525-9302; and, of course, online. On the Internet, the public can send e-mails to isumbongsacomelec@gmail.com, send a tweet to @comelectv, or post a comment on http://facebook.com/pcosdemo. They can also fill out the feedback/incident report form they will find on http://mycomelec.tv. For those who know how to use hashtags on Twitter, adding #SumbongKo to tweets will facilitate the tracking of feedback or incident reports.

Incidentally, did you know that the Comelec chairman himself is on Twitter? Follow him via @ChairBrillantes.

 James Jimenez blog at http://jamesjimenez.com and tweets as @jabjimenez on Twitter.


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