Comelec, environment group to politicians: Don't use Traslacion for premature campaigning

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Some 385 tons of garbage were hauled from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo district during the traditional "Pahalik" and the six-kilometer procession in 2018 compared to the 341 tons collected in 2017, according to the Manila City government.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 5) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) and environment group EcoWaste Coalition jointly urged politicians to refrain from using the Feast of the Black Nazarene as a platform for premature campaigning for the May 2019 polls.

"Please do not take advantage of the loopholes in the premature campaigning law to plug your candidacy during the mammoth feast of the Black Nazarene. Premature campaigning is wrong and well-meaning politicians should not engage in it," said James Jimenez, Comelec spokesperson in a statement.

Daniel Alejandro of EcoWaste coalition explained the premature campaigning through putting up tarpaulins and distributing leaflets will only aggravate the garbage problem.

"Epalitikos, please restrain yourselves. Traslacion is not the time to draw attention to yourselves," Alejandre said. Epalitiko is a portmanteau of "epal" [attention-seeking]" and "pulitiko" [politician].

Jimenez also reminded that the official campaign period for senatorial candidates and for party-list groups will run from February 12 to May 11, while the campaign period for members of the House of Representatives and elective regional, provincial, city and municipal posts will be from March 30 to May 11.

Campaigning is prohibited on March 28 (Maundy Thursday) and March 29 (Good Friday), he added.

But if politicians want to make their presence felt, Alejandre said they should either offer food and water to the devotees in reusable and washable containers, or support deployment of clean-up and anti-littering volunteers.

Some 385 tons of garbage were hauled from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Quiapo district during the traditional "Pahalik" and the six-kilometer procession in 2018 compared to the 341 tons collected in 2017, according to the Manila City government.