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Candidates who break health rules will be prosecuted, according to the Comelec.

CEBU CITY, Philippines – National and local candidates for the May 9 elections will face charges if they are detected violating minimal health norms during their campaign activities, according to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here on Tuesday.

During a press conference with the police and military, Comelec-Cebu City South’s election officer, lawyer Edwin Cadungog, revealed that two committees were formed inside the commission to monitor and enforce laws and regulations related to the impending elections.

He added the City Comelec Campaign Committee (CCCC) will supervise candidates or political parties engaged in election-related activities to ensure compliance with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ minimal public health standards (IATF).

The City Comelec Monitoring Action Center (CMAC), on the other hand, will watch how candidates and their parties conduct rallies and poll-related meetings and would call them out for “typical transgressions,” he said.

National and local candidates, according to Cadungog, must obtain a permit from the local government unit (LGU) where their rally will be held and attach it to their application for approval before the Comelec.

“Applicants for national posts such as president, vice president, senators, and party-list must go through the Comelec regional office. “For provincial candidates, register it with the Comelec-province, and for city or municipal candidates, file it with the City Comelec,” he stated in Cebuano.

The application must be submitted 72 hours prior to the activity’s start time and date. The CCCC will grant or deny the application within 48 hours, and if no action is taken within 48 hours, the application is assumed authorized, he added.

“The application can only be denied in one circumstance: when the time and date of the activity requested has already been taken by other applicants whose applications were filed earlier,” Cadungog explained.

Through the Joint Task Group Cebu, the CCCC will work with the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to ensure that health regulations are followed throughout election-related activities.

According to Cadungog, one of CMAC’s responsibilities is to supervise compliance with the election materials law, ensuring that candidates adhere to the permissible sizes of their printed media.

Apart from the police and the military, the Comelec also enlisted the help of national institutions including the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Department of Public Works and Highways to ensure that the regulations on election paraphernalia displayed in public areas were followed.

Col. Ernesto Salvador Tagle, director of the Cebu City Police Office, said no election-related incidents have been reported, thus it is not on the hotspot or watch list.

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