Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Nueva Ecija encouraged the youth to actively report incidents of election offenses for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2023.
According to the latest data, the province has a total of 528,284 young voters set to participate in the upcoming elections.
COMELEC Nueva Ecija Election Assistant Maria Charisma Bolisay urged young voters to promptly address instances of vote-buying and vote-selling through the KontraBigay Complaint Center, and to report any cases of illegal campaigning to the Anti-Epal Task Force.
KontraBigay Complaint Center is a committee established by COMELEC, in partnership with various government agencies and election stakeholders, to ensure the implementation of the commission’s rules and policies to prevent vote-buying and vote-selling across the country.
Bolisay reiterated that vote-buying and vote-selling are serious election offenses that are punishable by up to six years of imprisonment and other penalties.
Vote-buying involves offering money, valuable items, positions, franchises, grants, direct or indirect expenditures, or causing expenses of any person, association, corporation, entity, or community to influence someone’s vote.
Bolisay added that it includes giving money through digital or online banking transactions or other mobile wallet applications.
Meanwhile, vote-selling refers to accepting expenses or promises of positions or jobs, whether public or private, from individuals, groups, or communities to withhold votes or sway them in favor of a specific candidate.
To combat these practices, incidents may be reported through the KontraBigay Complaint Center official email [email protected] or its hotline numbers (02) 8559-9947 and (02) 8567-4567.
Moreover, Bolisay urged the young voters to report any complaints regarding illegal campaign materials to the Anti-Epal Task Force.
She highlighted the strict regulations regarding campaign materials.
These include prohibitions on posters exceeding 2 feet by 3 feet and other oversized campaign materials.
Also, campaign materials lacking the required labels, such as “political advertisement paid for” followed by the candidate’s name and address, “political advertisement paid by” followed by the payer’s name, or “printed free of charge,” are strictly prohibited.
Bolisay said that materials exhibiting gender insensitivity, obscenity, offensiveness, or violating Republic Act No. 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women are not permitted.
Posters placed outside designated common poster areas, on private property without owner consent, and in public spaces such as announcement boards, government-owned vehicles, waiting areas, and sidewalks are also off-limits.
Further restrictions include posters in schools, public shrines, barangay halls, government offices, health centers, public structures, buildings, and government-owned transport terminals.
Murals in public places are likewise prohibited.
Moreover, the distribution of campaign materials like T-shirts, fans, hats/caps, ballpens, umbrellas, handkerchiefs, bags, and other items featuring a candidate’s name, picture, or logo is not allowed.
Citizens may submit reports to the Anti-Epal Task Force through its email address [email protected] or by scanning the QR code provided by COMELEC and filling out a Google Form with pertinent details and evidence.
For more information about COMELEC rules and regulations for BSKE 2023, citizens may visit the COMELEC offices in their respective cities and municipalities, or through their official website www.comelec.gov.ph.
The campaign period started on Thursday, October 19, and ends on October 28. (CLJD/MAECR-PIA 3)