The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has granted the request for exemption of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), local government units (LGUs), and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) from implementing projects during the election period.
“The Petition for Exception of DSWD during the 45 days period of campaign was likewise approved/granted by the En Banc,” Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said.
“We denied/ granted fully and/ or partially certain petitions of other agencies and LGUs (local government units) nationwide,” he added.
He likewise said the en banc has granted the petitions of the OVP to continue its projects and programs throughout the campaign period.
Projects of the OVP that had been halted included the free mobile antigen testing service Swab Cab, the free teleconsultation service Bayanihan E-Konsulta, and drive-through vaccination drive Vaccine Express.
The OVP’s COVID-19 initiatives were suspended last month as the campaign period for the May 9 candidates running for national positions officially began on February 8.
Vice President Leno Robredo is running for president.
The Omnibus Election Code generally prohibits the use of government offices’ budgets to boost the campaign of candidates.
Robredo lauded the decision of the Comelec over the resumption of her COVID-19 response initiatives amid presidential bid.
“We thank the Comelec en banc for their action on the Oftice of the Vice President’s request. This will ensure that Angat Buhay projects which have helped hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in the past six years can continue to bring hope to communities all over the Philippines,” spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
The Comelec said Angat Buhay programs would be exempted from the public works and fund disbursements ban during the campaign period. Robredo previously requested Comelec for an exemption of her Bayanihan E-Konsulta, Swab Cab and Vaccine Express.
She vowed to change the logos, colors and the designs of her programs to avoid association to her election campaign. With Rio N. Araja