2022 Philippine Elections

Comelec warns groups behind campaign materials on Zamboanga Sibugay trees

Antonio Manaytay
Comelec warns groups behind campaign materials on Zamboanga Sibugay trees

VIOLATION. Campaign materials on trees in Zamboanga Sibugay. Election and environment officials warn against these.

Antonio Manaytay/Rappler

An environment official in Zamboanga Sibugay reminds all candidates that 'it is a crime to put campaign materials on trees'

ZAMBOANGA SIBUGAY, Philippines – The Commission on Election (Comelec) on Tuesday, March 1, warned political groups and supporters of candidates against putting campaign materials on trees in Zamboanga Sibugay, saying it would tear them off or take them down on Day 1 of the local campaign period this month.

“We want to be fair with everyone. We will remove all tarpaulins and other campaign materials that violate the guidelines,” lawyer Ahmad Taib Musa, provincial elections supervisor, told Rappler.

Musa said the Comelec would implement “Oplan Baklas” in the province on March 15, the start of the election campaign period for local candidates, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

Officials reminded all candidates for the 2022 national and local elections that posting or putting up campaign materials on trees is not allowed and they could face legal sanctions.

Dionisio Rago, community environment in Kabasalan town, said all candidates should know by now that “it is a crime to put campaign materials on trees.”

The rule is based on an old law – Republic Act 3571 of 1963 – that prohibits the “cutting, destroying or injuring of planted or growing trees” along public roads, places of leisure, schools, and other public grounds. 

Based on the law, all campaign materials posted on trees and public structures will be removed, he said.

VIOLATION. A campaign material of a party-list group is posted on a tree in Zamboanga Sibugay. Election and environment officials warn against these. (Antonio Manaytay/Rappler)

But Musa said the campaign materials inside private properties would not be included in the Oplan Baklas operations in Zamboanga Sibugay.

“We don’t have control over owners of private properties,” he said.

The Comelec in Zamboanga Sibugay will carry out the campaign in every municipality regardless of the candidates in the election materials, said Lorie Mariano, election officer of Olutanga town. – Rappler.com

Antonio Manaytay is a Mindanao-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship