“Spare the trees and mind your garbage,” DENR tells poll candidates

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ENVIRONMENT AUTHORITIES here appealed to political parties and candidates in the May elections to mind their garbage and avoid nailing campaign materials on trees.

Maximo Dichoso, executive director of the regional Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon, said candidates should stick to environment-friendly campaigning to ensure clean and orderly elections in the coming polls.

He said well-meaning candidates and their supporters, even as they run on environmental platforms, should be mindful of the environment and resort to using recyclable and biodegradable campaign materials.

“The idea is to minimize garbage and to inflict as little damage on the environment and trees toward the end of the elections,” he said.

DENR Secretary Ramon Paje has earlier called on political candidates to put waste avoidance and reduction at the heart of their strategy to win, and to stick to earth-friendly campaign practices to ensure a waste-free election.

“Let us change the face of Philippine politics with clean elections defined not only by an intelligent electorate, but a trash-free one as well,” Paje said in a statement.

He also reiterated a long-standing appeal to spare the trees of campaign materials, saying trees are also living creatures that could get hurt or sick from infection, or die if left untreated for a long time.

Under Commission on Elections Resolution No. 6520, or the Implementing Rules of the Fair Election Act, common poster areas shall be allowed by the Election Officer only in public places such as plazas, markets, or barangay centers where posters may be readily seen or read.

Lawyer Lydia Pangilinan, Pampanga provincial election supervisor, has earlier warned that Comelec rules prohibit the posting of campaign materials on trees, schools, shrines, pedestrian overpasses and underpasses, flyovers, bridges, and islands of roads and highways, including waiting sheds, sidewalks, street and lamp posts, and electric posts, among other places.

Candidates of parties are also prohibited from sticking campaign materials on ambulances, patrol cars, and government vehicles, particularly those bearing red license plates.

Violation of these rules would constitute an election offense punishable under Sec. 264 of the Omnibus Election Code, she added.

Imposable penalties are imprisonment of one to six years, disqualification to hold public office, and for political parties, a fine of not less than P10,000.