The campaigning panel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is ready to enforce new in-person guidelines next week, it said in a statement released on Friday.
The National Comelec Campaign Committee (NCCC), led by Comelec Commissioner Rey E. Bulay, held a virtual meeting on Thursday with representatives of various government agencies who will be helping the poll body implement the guidelines.
Mr. Bulay said that as the campaign period begins next Tuesday, the “campaign committees nationwide stand ready to implement the guidelines institutionalizing the new normal in the conduct of in-person campaigns, rallies, caucuses, meeting de avance, motorcades and caravans for the 2022 National and Local Elections.”
The campaigning period for national positions runs from Feb. 8 to May 7.
Last year, the Comelec launched a Facebook page to serve as an online campaigning platform for national candidates during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
The agencies who attended the online meeting included the Department of Health, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
According to Comelec Resolution 10723, the NCCC can classify the category level of every national and local government unit according to the alert level classification issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
Under the Philippine COVID-19 alert level system, Level 5 is the strictest community quarantine level where the whole country would be placed under lockdown, while Level 1 is the most relaxed and only minimal safety health protocols need to be followed.
The new campaign guidelines provide details on the process of holding rallies in an area if the alert level changes and the campaigning documents that would then be needed.
During the meeting, the agencies vowed to do their roles in holding the first automated elections to follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“In the enforcement of these guidelines and prosecution thereof, we are likewise assured by the commitment of the deputized agencies who have been our valued partners through the years in ensuring not just a free, honest and credible electoral exercise but also a safe one,” Mr. Bulay said. — Jaspearl Emerald G. Tan