House-to-house campaign gets Comelec approval

By Connie Calipay


Candidates and their political parties in the Bicol region are now allowed to conduct house-to-house campaign activities, an election official said.


Lawyer Jasmin Belarmino, Commission on Elections (Comelec) regional election supervisor, said that the new development was based on Comelec Resolution 10732 or the May 2022 election campaign guidelines.


During a media dialogue titled "Aksyon sa Eleksyon 2022," Belarmino said the guidelines concerned in-person campaigns, rallies, caucuses, meetings and conventions, motorcades and caravans, and miting de avance under the new normal in connection with the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.


“It is one of the forms of campaign activity allowed by the resolution, so they can conduct house-to-house campaign activity, pero hindi sila pwedeng pumasok even with the consent ng may-ari (but they are not allowed to enter the household even with the consent of the owner),” Belarmino in an interview said.


She also said under the recently issued Comelec Resolution 10769, candidates are no longer required to get permits from the commission.


“They no longer need to secure permit, but as to the rules of the barangays and local government unit (LGU), I am not sure and aware of the Inter-Agency Task Force rules, so if in case they are required to present permit [by the barangay or local government unit, they have to comply with that,” she added.


Belarmino admitted it is difficult for the Comelec to control and monitor everything that is happening during campaign rallies.


“Although, we are being helped by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other security agencies including the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) through barangay police and Barangay Health Emergency Response Teams (BHERTs) to monitor whatever occurs during campaigns,” she said.


Despite this, Belarmino appealed to the public to still observe social distancing and continue to follow the minimum health standards imposed by the government while participating in these kinds of campaign-related activities.


The Comelec in Bicol also added that additional procedures will be implemented during the May 2022 local and national elections as prescribed under Comelec Resolution No. 10727.


“Before ang isang botante makapag-boto, dadaan muna siya sa temperature check,” Belarmino said.


She added that in every polling center, there would be an isolation polling place (IPP), which are rooms or makeshift tents where voters are to be evaluated by the medical personnel if they are suffering from fever or any of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) symptoms during the election day.


“Sa IPP, diyan muna pupunta ‘yung magre-register ng 37.5 degrees Celsius na temperatura, so pupunta siya [‘yung botante] doon, hihintayin ng five minutes kung bumaba, papabotohin siya dun sa polling place niya,” she said.


However, she clarified in case the voter’s temperature does not drop to normal, he or she can still vote at the IPP but will not be allowed to see his or her Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or the printed slip or receipt.


To avoid overcrowding, voting hours are also extended.


Belarmino estimated there are more than 3.9 million Bicolano voters, which number is higher than in previous elections. (PNA)