Cotabato local candidates start campaign with spread of propaganda materials

March 31, 2013 10:41 am 

COTABATO CITY, March 30 — As early as dawnbreak on Black Saturday, workers for candidates for local positions beat what appeared to be the early bird race in putting up propaganda materials.

And the Commission on Elections has its hands full with violations on sizes of campaign materials displayed by supporters of political aspirants for local posts.

At 6 a.m. vehicles of political candidates with loud speakers roaed the city courting voters to vote for them proclaiming their various programs of government.

The poll body has admitted they will have their hands full on the first day of the 45-day campaign period as posters litter the city and nearby provinces.

"Violations are rampant, very obvious, let us see what the Comelec would do," said Amerando Villasis, a volunteer poll watcher in the May 2013 midterm elections.

Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes, Jr. said with the way things are going they need more volunteers to alert them on the election rule violations.

"We foresee that there will be violation and unlawful propaganda materials, we are ready to accept complaints from almost all sectors, including candidates themselves against their rivals," Brillantes said on national TV Saturday.

"We have informed local candidates through our local poll officials that unlawful campaign posters will be removed the way we did it with the national candidates," Brillantes added.

In the city, campaign posters have been displayed not only in common poster areas designated by the poll body but in areas frequented by people and voters.

Sizes vary. Individual candidates ride on the board put up by organized political organizations.

The most common poster materials used by candidates here are made of tarpaulin despite appeals by environment groups and election watchdog to avoid using plastic as propaganda materials.

While Cotabato City and Maguindanao are not among the 15 priority areas identified by the Comelec to be watched closely, local pundits here fear bloody campaign period as influential political clans are fighting each other for various local positions.

A intense political campaign is expected between Cotabato City mayoral aspirants while Maguindanao is expected to be as intense when re-electionist Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu of the ruling Liberal Party is being challenged by Mayor Tocao Mastura of United Nationalist Alliance.

Since the election period began, no election related violence have been recorded by the police and military in Maguindanao and Cotabato City.

However, mudslinging among candidates has been noted such as the issue of corruption and political dynasties.

Nationwide, the Comelec said more than 44,540 local candidates are vying for over 18,0000 positions.

Brillantes has repeated his appeals for the youth to use the social media in exposing election rules violations.(PNA)

HBC/NYP/EOF

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