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Before undertaking a face-to-face campaign, the Comelec encourages bettors to obtain a permit.

To minimize poll violations, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bicol urged candidates to file a formal application with their office first, whether onsite or online, before engaging in face-to-face (F2F) or in-person campaign activities.

The notice was given by lawyer Rafael Olano, regional director of the Comelec-Bicol, as the campaign period for candidates seeking national elective offices formally begins on February 8.

In a radio broadcast, he stated that making phone calls or “texting” to obtain permission for in-person campaigning is not regarded an official method of obtaining permission.

“In fact, our office has already received several phone calls requesting approval for in-person campaigns.” “However, we immediately inform them that they must submit their written application in person at our office or via internet links,” Olano said.

According to him, existing rules compel Comelec to give a permit to conduct an in-person campaign within 48 hours of the application’s submission.

According to Olano, the poll organization is using the lead time to ensure that opposing candidates’ campaigns do not take place at the same time or in the same location.

This is also why individuals seeking permission to run an in-person campaign must provide the time, date, location, and a number of participants, including staff, he added.

“We feel that because they are already published in national publications, candidates are already aware of what is authorized and what is prohibited during the conduct of in-person campaigns,” Olano added.

As a precautionary step against coronavirus sickness, the Comelec stated in Resolution No. 10732 that all candidates are no longer allowed to have close encounters with their supporters and the general public during conventions, caucuses, meetings, and rallies (Covid-19).

The polling body stated that “handshakes, hugs, going arm-in-arm, or any action that includes physical contact among the candidate, their companions, and the people” are not permitted.

Taking photos with the candidates, as well as bringing out food and drinks, are also prohibited.

Several national candidates are expected to campaign in Bicol, according to Olano, due to the region’s large number of registered voters, estimated at 3.9 million.

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