MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) urged local and national candidates anew to take down their campaign posters, following the conclusion of the mid-term elections.
"The cost of putting those campaign posters is already huge, why not shell out a few more and tear it down themselves?" said Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon in an interview at the National Board of Canvassers' headquarters in Pasay City.
"It's an election offense if they refuse to take it down three days from notice, we'll know it at the committee," she said.
At present, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is mobilizing its personnel to tear down campaign materials in its 'Oplan Baklas'.
As of Wednesday, the police have already removed over 650,000 campaign posters in Metro Manila alone.
MMDA: 168.84 tons of campaign materials removed
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) collected a total of 168.84 tons of campaign materials in various parts of the region during the recent mid-term elections.
This, as the MMDA’s Metro Parkway Clearing Group (MPCG), hauled campaign materials of various sizes before and after the election day on May 13.
“All in all, we have collected 168.84 tons of campaign trash so far this midterm election,” said MPCG chief Francis Martinez in a statement on Wednesday.
A post-cleanup report by the MPCG disclosed that at least 21,700 pieces of election-related materials equivalent to 23.42 tons were collected by seven dump trucks in the metropolis a day after the midterm elections.
Meanwhile, a total of 134,700 pieces amounting to 145.42 tons of campaign paraphernalia were collected in various parts of Metro Manila through the ‘Oplan Baklas’ campaign before the elections.
A task force was created by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), MMDA, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the PNP for the Oplan Baklas operations to remove illegal campaign materials conducted from March 1 until May 13.
Manila, Quezon City, Parañaque and Makati produced the most number of campaign materials according to the MMDA.
“Various groups in need of candidates’ tarpaulins to recycle them into bags, placemats, school supplies, and other useful items can coordinate with us,” Martinez said.
The collection of campaign trash for this year’s elections was lower compared to the 2016 elections wherein campaign materials gathered reached 206 tons.
The MMDA will continue to clear major roads along the metropolis of trash and clean up public schools within the week in preparation for the opening of classes in June.
The poll body also reminded candidates to submit their Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SOCE).
"Our candidates out there are being reminded, those who won and those who did not, to submit their statement of contribution and expenditure within 30 days from the end of the elections," Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in an interview.
The candidates may submit their SOCE until June 13, and if they fail to do so, especially local government officials, they "will have problems assuming office," warned Jimenez.
According to Comelec Resolution 10505, which amended several provisions of the Omnibus Rules on Campaign Finance, the failure of the candidate to submit SOCEs within six months from proclamation will stop him/her from assuming the duties of the post he/she had won.
Meanwhile, the deadline shall be “final and non-extendible” for the losing candidates and party-list groups, the same resolution said. (with reports from Aerol Pateña/PNA)