2022 Philippine Elections

Philippines kicks off campaign period amid COVID-19 pandemic

Dwight de Leon

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Philippines kicks off campaign period amid COVID-19 pandemic

Janina Malinis/Rappler

Major presidential and vice presidential candidates are set to hold their proclamation rallies on Tuesday night. See the schedule here.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines entered the official campaign period on Tuesday, February 8, but how it will be conducted would differ significantly from past elections, due to the threat of COVID-19.

While aspirants for national elective posts have been campaigning as early as the first half of 2021, it is only during the formal campaign period that they become official candidates, and are thus subjected to a set of policies by which they should abide.

For this election season, a category level system is observed, with Comelec campaign committees from the municipal to the national level tasked to determine which level an area belongs to.

The classification will dictate how much in-person campaigning restrictions are imposed on a certain area, such as the size of motorcades, meetings, and rallies.

For all category levels, traditional campaign activity interactions, such as handshakes, hugs, kisses, the taking of selfies, distribution of food and drinks, and crowding around the candidate, are prohibited.

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It is also during the campaign season that candidates are covered by the Fair Elections Act, which details how much they can spend for every voter, what modes of election propaganda are allowed, and how much air time they can get for their broadcast advertisements, among others.

The February 8 campaign period kickoff is only applicable to aspirants for national elective posts; local aspirants can begin campaigning on March 25.

Schedule of proclamation rallies

For the 2022 elections, there will be 10 presidential candidates, 9 vice presidential aspirants, 64 senatorial hopefuls, and 177 aspiring party-list groups.

Below is the schedule of the proclamation rallies of the presidential and vice presidential tandems:

It is expected that the candidates have already secured permits from regional Comelec campaign committees, as the poll body introduced this requirement in light of COVID-19 risks.

Beginning Tuesday night, the Comelec will also start lending its Facebook page to national aspirants who want to stream their virtual rallies.

On the first night, the featured presidential candidates are Norberto Gonzales, Manny Pacquiao, and Mangondato Faisal.

All three have confirmed their attendance, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.

The three-month campaign period will end on May 7, just two days ahead of the vote that will determine President Rodrigo Duterte’s successor. – Rappler.com

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the Malacañang, and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.