Election bets told: Spare the trees

The Iloilo City Council urged candidates to refrain from nailing their campaign materials on trees which is a violation of environmental and election laws. (F.A. Angelo photo)

The Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) reminded national and local candidates including their campaign leaders and supporters to avoid nailing or posting their campaign materials on trees as the councilors stressed the need to be mindful of the environment amid the start of the campaign period for the May 2022 elections.

A resolution “requesting all national and local candidates for May 9, 2022 national and local elections including their campaign leaders and supporter to be mindful of the environment and spare the trees from their campaign materials and other campaign activities” was unanimously approved by the SP during its virtual session on Tuesday, Feb 8, 2022.

Councilor Lyndon Acap who also serves as the chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, was the proponent of the resolution.

Acap cited in the resolution pertinent laws which prohibit the nailing of campaign materials on trees such as Presidential Decree No. 953, Omnibus Election Code, and Republic Act. No. 9006.

Sec. 3 of P.D. 953 punishes those who damage or injure naturally grown or planted trees of any kind with imprisonment of not less than six months and not more than two years or fine of not less than P500 or not more than P5,000 or both.

“The Fair Elections Act prohibits the posting of campaign materials in public places outside of the designated common poster areas such as trees is prohibited. Persons posting the same shall be liable together with the candidates and other persons who caused the posting,” the resolution said.

Sec. 264 of the Omnibus Election Code also penalizes candidates found posting on prohibited locations such as trees with imprisonment of maximum of six years and shall be disqualified to hold public office and deprivation of the right of suffrage.

Dapat na gid man nga himuon nga seryoso ang pagbutang sang poster sugod na ang campaign period for national candidates and next month masugod naman ang for local candidates. This time ginaseryoso na ginpaagi naton sa pagpasar sang resolution kag unanimously approved. Ang aton main concern ang kakahuyan nga indi pagbutangan poster kag tarpaulin,” Acap said.

Ironically, the proponent of the resolution was also the local candidate that has the most number of posters confiscated by the Task Force Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures Unit for alleged violations.

Based on the published report of a local radio station, 336 posters of Councilor Acap were confiscated by the task force for illegally nailing the campaign materials on trees.

The next candidate with the most number of confiscated campaign posters was Congressman aspirant and former Mayor Joe Espinosa III with 320, and incumbent Councilors Jojo Javellana and Atty. Rommel Duron who are both seeking for re-election.

Despite this, Acap stressed that the resolution is meant to remind incumbent officials including himself to be responsible during the campaign period.

Kita nga mga incumbent officials wala nagapabaya sa aton responsibilidad sa pagcampaign and that’s why I think aton stance subong, aton tanan.  I hope maintindahan nila nga kita nagapadalagan man kag responsable nga nagatuman sa aton katungdanan,” he added.

Aside from sparing the trees, Councilor Rudolph Ganzon also reminded the poll candidates to follow existing laws and ordinances such as the Anti-Littering Law and the Clean As You Go Ordinance during the campaign period.

“In line with the campaign season, it is also necessary and important that we observe the Anti-Littering Ordinance/Law. Indi lang sa trees ang aton concern dira but pati pagbutang ta sang poste kag illegal structure ta, ang mga indi pwede takdan tani kita sa government and those seeking for reelection should be more responsible by telling our campaign team to be more responsible sa pagpamutang sang mga materials,” Ganzon said. (DG)