Pag ulikid exempt from comelec ban

ILOILO City Mayor Jose Espinosa III exchanges high-fives with children in one of the Pag-ulikid caravans in the city. (Photo from PAG-Ulikid ni Mayor Joe III Espinosa Facebook page)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

ILOILO CITY Administrator Hernando Galvez emphasized that the “Pag-ulikid Program” of the city government is exempted from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) ban.

“This activity is exempted. It happened a long time ago and the function of the activity should be continuous in nature,” he said.

Pag-ulikid is the brainchild program of Mayor Jose Espinosa III that aims to bring local government services closer to the people, especially in the barangays for easier transaction and accessibility.

Free services under the Pag-ulikid Program include medical and dental consultation, legal advice assistance, processing of birth, marriage, and death certificates, ID application for senior citizens and assistance for fire and calamity victims among others.

Galvez cited Section 9 of the Resolution No. 10511 issued by the Comelec which protects and exempts such projects from the election ban.

According to Galvez, the intention of the project is to provide services to the people even without the elections.

“Ang Pag-ulikid is bringing the services of the City Hall directly to the barangays and alang-alang mo na untaton indi na sila covered kay gin-design na ya ang Pag-ulikid may eleksiyon man o wala para madala ang serbisyo direkta sa pumuluyo,” he said.

Recently, the Comelec announced that public works projects and some government disbursements will be frozen between March 29 and May 12 under election rules.

The Comelec recent issued Resolution No. 10511 that banned certain activities during the election campaign period.

Among the banned activities are public works, disbursement and spending of public funds, and delivery of materials.

Public works under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) schemes are not covered by the ban.

Under the resolution, non-infrastructure projects that pertain to social welfare and services are also exempted but concerned local government units must file a Petition of Exception from the Comelec.

But Galvez said there is no need to seek exemption for Pag-ulikid.

“Comelec exemption is not necessary, because by itself it is exempted, it is not covered,” he stressed.

But Jonathan Sayno, Comelec-Iloilo City assistant said City Hall should seek exemption from Comelec to be safe.

“To be safe na lang masulat sila sa Comelec, then i-grant sila exemption,” he said.

Sayno emphasized that under the provision electoral candidates or official should be banned during the program or event.

Otherwise, their presence or their participation will be considered as an election offence.

“Ang sa sina nga case, once granted ka sang exemption, tanan nga certain official running for elections or candidates indi na pwede ka salida. Indi gid ya pwede biskan grace the program, tam-an ka clear ang rules. Indi siya pwede kapakita, not only ang kandidato but also ang pamilya niya na included sa first and second degree,” Sayno explained.

Galvez said that candidates are prohibited from joining Pag-ulikid-related activities.

He added that the mayor is only present in the event to grace the program.

“We make it a rule na indi sila pwede, we never recognize ang mga electoral bets. The mayor is only there to grace the program being the mayor kay inseparable ang mayor sa activity pero wala kita ga-allow candidates,” he stressed.

Under Section 9 of Resolution No. 10511, the release, disbursement or expenditures of the other state funds are allowed subject to the following conditions:

  • The projects, programs, activities (PPAs) sought to be implemented during the prohibited period of March 29, 2019 to May 12, 2019 were established before the said period and duly reported to the Commission on Audit (COA).
  • The public awareness and information dissemination activities pertaining to these PPAs must conform to the guidelines provided under the said COA Circular
  • In no instance shall the implementation of PPAs be used as an opportunity by any candidate, his or her spouse, family member within the second civil degree of affinity  or consanguinity, political parties, party-list organizations and their nominees to further their candidacy through their personal appearance in such events, the posting, exhibition or distribution of any form of election propaganda or any material containing their names, logos, initials, mottos, slogans, images, and other forms of representation attributable to them.
  • Support for endorsement of candidates, party list, organizations and political parties shall not be made as a condition for the entitlement of the benefits from the PPAs.
  • Should the PPAs involve distribution of cash, goods, or merchandise for scholarships, assistance for burial, healthcare, calamity and other similar programs, candidates, party list nominees, their spouses, and members of their family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity are strictly prohibited from participating, directly or indirectly, in the distribution thereof.