To keep elections safe for Filipinos and the earth this year, an environmental health group is challenging all government post aspirants this coming polling season to keep their campaigns “COVID-safe, fair, and eco-friendly.”

EcoWaste Coalition made the request to all who are running for a government seat on Tuesday (February 8), coinciding with the official start of the national campaign period that will last until May 7 – two days before the voting day on May 9. 

According to the organization, who’s dedicated to “pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change, and chemical issues,” candidates should be the first to set an example to the public, specifically when it comes to COVID-19 safety and concern for the environment. 

“We challenge all presidential, vice presidential, senatorial and party list candidates to comply with essential health protocols as they garner public support to avoid the spread of COVID-19, as well as follow fair and eco-friendly election rules to prevent campaign malpractices and environmental degradation,” said EcoWaste Coalition Zero Waste Campaigner Jove Benosa.

“We call on all candidates anew to put the protection of public health and the environment on center stage amid the pandemic as they do the rounds of cities and municipalities to woo voters. Please follow Comelec Resolutions 10730 and 10732 to the letter,” he added.

Under Resolution 10730, the guidelines for the organization of in-person campaigns, rallies, meetings, conventions, motorcades, caravans, and miting de avance are written. Candidates are required to strictly observe the rules within the resolution as well as health protocols and preventive measures set by the Department of Health (DOH) to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Meanwhile, Resolution 10730 contains the fair elections practices that candidates need to adhere to per Republic Act No. 9006 or the Fair Elections Act.

EcoWaste Coalition also provided candidates a guide to accomplish their challenge, which you can read below: 

  1. Strictly adhere to COVID-19 preventive health protocols as advised by the authorities.
  2. Ensure compliance with the required rules for election campaign activities corresponding to the prevailing COVID-19 alert level in a given area.
  3. Abide by the rules on lawful propaganda materials and other fair election practices.
  4. Go for environment-friendly, recyclable or compostable campaign materials, and avoid those containing hazardous chemicals.
  5. Use recycled paper instead of virgin paper for leaflets, posters, and sample ballots.
  6. Add in the reminder “Para sa ating kalusugan at kalikasan, huwag pong ikalat, itambak o sunugin,” or its equivalent in local languages, in campaign materials.
  7. Do not hang, nail or tack banners and posters on trees, plants, shrubs, and other unauthorized places.
  8. Takedown illegal campaign materials without waiting to be told.
  9. Do not leave garbage during campaign sorties; make every campaign event litter-free, plastic-free, and also smoke-and vape-free.
  10. Shun balloons, confetti, firecrackers, and fireworks, and conduct post-event clean-up right away.
  11. Refrain from using single-use disposable plastics for volunteers’ meals and the like.
  12. Safely reuse, repurpose or recycle campaign materials, and do not simply dump or burn them.

The group also reminded candidates and parties to not attach campaign paraphernalia on private properties or public places without consent or authorization. Likewise, they mentioned that “it would be unlawful to put up posters and related campaign materials on trees, plants, and shrubs along public roads and in plazas, parks, school premises, or on any other public grounds.”

Ecowaste Coalition also encouraged those running to use “to use recyclable and environment-friendly materials and avoid those that contain hazardous substances in the production of their campaign and election propaganda.”

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Image credit: EcoWaste Coalition