Comelec warns PUV operators may lose franchise if found bearing campaign posters

By Cherry Joy S. Discaya-Garma, PIA, Ilocos Norte


LAOAG CITY, Apr 16 (PIA) – – The Commission on Elections has warned that operators of Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) could be stripped of their franchise to operate if they carry candidates’ campaign materials.

Lawyer Joel Gines, provincial election supervisor, said PUVs – from tricycles, jeepneys and buses – are covered by the prohibition on the posting of materials outside common poster areas.

“PUVs are for public use (therefore) they are included in the list of areas where campaign materials are prohibited,” Gines said during a multi-sectoral meeting on April 11 in preparation for “Operation Baklas (take out, remove) 2013.”

He said PUVs, even when commissioned by candidates to conduct their campaign rounds, are not excluded from the prohibition.

“Public vehicles carry franchises labeled as PUV. They are not automatically converted as private cars when they are hired to do campaign tasks,” Gines added.

He said the Comelec is closely monitoring candidates who had violated the prohibition on posting of campaign materials.

“We notify them of the violation. After three days, if campaign posters are not pulled down, candidates will be subjected to disqualification upon proper hearing,” Gines said.

On April 22, the Comelec along with government agencies Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine National Police (PNP), and Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will go around the province and tear down posters that are outside of common poster areas.

The Operation Baklas 2013 which was launched before the campaign season for local candidates begun, involves the removal of campaign materials nailed on trees, electric posts, bridges, public waiting sheds, public fences, and other public places not designated as common poster area.

Joining the operation are partner agencies, Philippine Information Agency, Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative Inc., non-government organizations, and media.#