CANDIDATES especially those seeking for the national posts are now busy to bask into the limelight as the official presidential campaign starts Tuesday.

Negros Occidental election supervisor Jessie Suarez said common poster corner in each selected areas of every barangay in the entire province have been placed for the candidates to post their campaign materials.

This pursuant to Section 22 of the Comelec Resolution No. 8758, as amended by Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act that designates common poster areas for the May 10 synchronized automated national and local elections.

He said for the local candidates, Comelec cannot rule for their postering activities considering that the said protocol has been abolished already “as in no premature campaigning.”

“It’s up for the town and city administrations to impose their ordinance on littering,” he said.

The campaign period for local candidates is on March 26.

A candidate, registered political parties for a national elective position can only be allowed of 120 minutes of advertisement in television or cable television and 180 minutes in radio, whether by purchase or donation, wherever located, per station, said Suarez.

He added, candidates running for local positions have 60 minutes per television and 90 minutes in radio, whether by purchase or donation, wherever located, per station.

Further he said written or printed materials should not exceed eight and one-half inches in width and fourteen inches in length.

Posters made of cloth, paper, whether framed or posted should not exceed two feet by three feet, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rule said.

On the other hand, Internet campaigning was not clearly touched on by the commission in its guidelines for campaigning.

For pointers, candidates are advised to go to the Comelec office for instruction which Suarez said in order to avoid possible violation of the CR 8758.

On the automated poll machines, Suarez said the units will be made available three days before the conduct of the election but for the meantime, it will be all in the national office for proper warehousing.

Rules

Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal on Monday called on national and local candidates running for public office to follow campaign rules.

Comelec particularly warned candidates against posting campaign materials outside authorized common poster areas which will be set up by the poll body in public places such as plazas, markets, barangay centers and the like.

“The posting of campaign materials in public places outside of the designated common poster areas such as streets, bridges, public structures or buildings, trees, electric posts or wires, schools, shrines, main thoroughfares and the like is prohibited,” demanded Comelec Resolution No. 8758.

The commission also clarified that common poster area does not refer to a post, a tree, the wall of a building or an existing public structure that is in active use, but a structure that is temporarily set up by the candidates or political parties for the exclusive purpose of displaying their campaign posters.

Task force

The commission has also created a three-man task force to tear down and remove unlawful election materials.

The task force will be composed of the election officer as chairman, the Station Commander of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as vice chairman and a third member belonging to any of the deputized agencies of the Commission.

The election officer is tasked to issue a notice to candidates who will be caught campaigning illegally. After three days, the candidate and his camp should have already removed the illegal campaign material.

Comelec has also called on the public to report to the poll body any unlawful campaign paraphernalia.

Violators may face an election offense punishable with imprisonment of not less than one year but no more than six years.

In addition, the guilty party shall likewise be sentenced to suffer disqualification to hold public office and the deprivation of his right to suffrage.

Unlawful campaign materials may be reported to the following hotline numbers: 525-9302, 525-9297, 525-9345, 525-9296, 525-9335, 525-9294, 527-5575 and 527-0821.

Campaign tax

Each candidate is subject for a five percent withholding tax in accordance with the Oplan: "Iboto Mo Kandidato, Nagbabayad ng Buwis na Wasto" of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

BIR’s directive was based on the Revenue Regulation 8-2009, stating that candidates have the civic duty of assisting in nation building which can be attained with them being involved in complying with their obligations.

Subject to five percent withholding tax are services and campaign materials expenses like flyers, tarpaulins, brochures, primers, among others. (With PNA and Sunnex reports)