The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday announced that the release, disbursement, or expenditure of public funds for social welfare projects, construction of public works, and delivery of materials for public works will be prohibited starting September 15 to October 30, 2023 in relation to the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).
The Comelec issued the updated guidelines on social welfare projects and public works ban to prevent candidates from utilizing government projects as part of their election campaign propaganda.
Under Resolution No. 10944, the Comelec said all social welfare projects of national, regional, provincial, and local government units (LGUs) and those of government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs) and their subsidiaries, the period of prohibition is from 15 September 2023 to 30 October 2023, except for Assistance to individuals in crisis situations (AICS), the distribution of which is prohibited from 20 to 30 October 2023.
For social welfare projects that will be implemented by the barangays, the period of prohibition is from October 20 to 30, 2023.
The Comelec said exempted from the prohibition of AICS distribution, however, are those which are normally given to qualified individuals such as, but not limited to, basic needs in the form of food, transportation, medical, educational, burial, and other similar assistance.
The poll body likewise said exempted from these prohibitions without the need for prior authority from the commission are the release and expenditure of public funds for relief or other goods to be distributed to the affected individuals and/or families in cases of calamities or disasters.
The Comelec also reminded all barangay heads that prior to the start of the period of the public works ban, which is from Oct. 20 to 29, the following must be submitted to the Law Department: all ongoing construction and/or maintenance of barangay-funded roads and bridges commenced before October 20, 2023; all similar construction and/or maintenance of barangay-funded roads and bridges under foreign agreements commenced before October 20, 2023; and all ongoing construction and/or maintenance of barangay-funded roads and bridges undertaken by contract through public bidding held, or by negotiated contract awarded, before October 20, 2023.
The poll body said if there was no ongoing construction and/or maintenance of barangay-funded roads and bridges, submission was no longer necessary.