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Comelec Iloilo allows Pag-ulikid program; Pero di dapat umepal mga politiko

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While many “political” activities are banned during the election period leading to the May 13 polls, the “Pag-ulikid Program” in Iloilo City is not one of them.

Still, the local Commission on Elections said candidates in the local polls should not take part in the program’s activities as this could be an election offense.

“This activity is exempted. It happened a long time ago and the function of the activity should be continuous in nature,” said city administrator Hernando Galvez.

Galvez cited Section 9 of the Commission on Elections’ Resolution No. 10511 that lists exemptions to the election ban.

Pag-ulikid is the brainchild program of Mayor Jose Espinosa III, who is running for reelection.

It provides free services such as medical and dental consultation, legal advice assistance, processing of birth, marriage, and death certificates, ID application for senior citizens and assistance for fire and calamity victims.

Galvez said the intention of the project is to provide services to the people even without the elections.

Activities banned by the Comelec during the election period include public works, disbursement and spending of public funds, and delivery of materials.

Public works under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) and Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) schemes are not covered by the ban.

Non-infrastructure projects that pertain to social welfare and services are also exempted but concerned local government units must file a Petition of Exception from the Comelec.

While Galvez said there is no need to seek exemption for Pag-ulikid, Comelec Iloilo City assistant Jonathan Sayno said City Hall should seek exemption from Comelec to be safe.

Sayno added electoral candidates or officials should be banned during the program or event, or their participation may be deemed an election offense.