Politicians hope Comelec applies airtime limit properly

AS THE new ruling of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to limit the airtime political advertisements on TV and radio received mixed reactions, local politicians are hoping that this will be strictly implemented.

Misamis Oriental Vice Governor Norris Babiera said he has nothing against the new resolution of the Comelec, as he in fact finds it admirable and fair for all candidates.

“For me, it’s okay as long as it is fair and Comelec will ensure that this new resolution will be implemented properly,” he said.

Provincial Board Member Jabi Bernaldez also agreed to the resolution, saying he has no problem because it is not an issue for him.

According to Bernaldez, he never used radio and TV for his campaign sorties ever since he joined politics.

“I am more on personalized approach like rallies, ‘pulong-pulong’ and handshaking as my way of communicating to the people,” he told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

Likewise, he urged other candidates, particularly those who are using TV and radio for their political advertisements, to just utilize the airtime given to them by the Comelec in communicating to the people and advised them to make it more concrete.

Meanwhile, Senator Francis Escudero also welcomed the Comelec, saying the move would level the playing field for all candidates, citing that those who have deep resources will no longer lord the airwaves leaving behind those with meager resources.

“At least no single candidate can put one over the other in terms of airtime. It’s a fair game for everyone,” he added.

However, Escudero expressed apprehension over the Comelec’s regulations on Internet campaigning as it remains a vague issue, given the innovative concept of the internet technology.

He said internet regulations have many loopholes, and the Comelec has not yet developed the core competence to provide and define standards for its usage.

Escudero emphasized that the said regulation leaves more questions than answers, saying how can the Comelec monitor on it, how do they count the minutes used by a particular candidate and what if someone uploads an ad without the candidate’s knowledge or permission.

“Will that be counted against his airtime? And what if ill-meaning protagonists will use this free uploading just to discredit a political rival? These are realities that I hope Comelec will tread with caution and consideration,” the senator said.

Comelec Resolution 9615 states that national candidates will be allowed an aggregate total of 120 minutes of TV airtime and 180 minutes of radio airtime.

Local candidates, meanwhile, will be allowed an aggregate total of 60 minutes for TV airtime and 90 minutes of radio advertising, whether airing on national, regional, or local radio, and whether by purchase or donation. (Annabelle L. Ricalde)
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