ILOILO City – Mayor Jose Espinosa III wants village chiefs to remove pre-election campaign materials displayed on barangay halls.
“They know these are illegal,” the local chief executive said.
Espinosa believes materials promoting election candidates should not be hanged or posted on barangay halls, these being public buildings.
If barangay captains refuse to heed this, the city government will exercise its powers over the villages, he stressed.
Espinosa has complained about how “politicking” was turning the city “unsightly,” referring to campaign streamers and posters spreading in the metro.
According to the mayor, posters – especially political ones – are only allowed in privately owned places, not public spaces.
“I will give them (barangay captains) the chance to remove [the posters] … sila mismo [magpanguha] kay bal-an nila nga ilegal,” Espinosa said.
If push comes to shove, however, the city government itself would remove the streamers, said the mayor.
According to the Commission on Elections, the local government has power over illegally installed streamers, Espinosa claimed.
“Kon makita ta nga may resistance kag sobra-sobra, that will be the time nga ma-action na ta,” stressed the mayor.
The city has Regulation Ordinance 2013-330, which regulates streamers and billboards.
The ordinance covers “streamers, billboards, posters, advertisements, notices, and buntings,” which could be “any informational materials, any forms of announcement, may it be written or merely a picture, or may also be in the form of a banner, flag, ensign, or emblem causing for the public’s attention [sic].”
“It shall be unlawful to install streamers, billboards, advertisements, notices, signboards, and any form of informational materials and the like along city streets, public places or at any place of business within the City of Iloilo without a permit issued by the License and Permits Division Office of the City Mayor’s Office,” Section 5 of the ordinance stated.
Under Section 6, such materials must legibly show “the corresponding permit number, date of issuance and the name of the applicant as issued” by the same division office.
Violators may be fined P1,000 for every illegally installed streamer, billboard or advertisement, or imprisoned for two months, at the court’s discretion.
The City Engineer’s Office, through Task Force ASIS (Anti-Squatting and Illegal Structures), is authorized to remove such illegally displayed materials, stated the ordinance.
The local Department of the Interior and Local Government office stressed that barangay halls are “still subject to existing rules, regulations and ordinances of the city government” even though they are the primary responsibility of the barangay council.
DILG-Iloilo City head Ferdinand Panes advised Espinosa to review applicable ordinances.
Earlier the local Comelec office said they could not stop those running for the 2019 midterm elections from campaigning this early.
They could only impose election rules and regulations during the campaign period, City Election Office Rainer Layson said.
Comelec set the election period for the upcoming midterm polls from Jan. 13, 2019 to June 12, 2019.
Layson suggested that the city government strictly enforce its anti-littering ordinance to get rid of “unsightly political advertisements or campaign materials” before the campaign period./PN