Comelec includes socmed use in poll campaign rules

MANILA -- The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has included the use of social media propaganda in the rules and regulations of Republic Act No. 9006, known as the “Fair Elections Act”, for the May 13 mid-term elections.

“Each registered political party and candidate shall register with the Education and Information Department of the Comelec, the website name and web address of the official blog and/or social media page of such political party or candidate,” the poll body said in Resolution No. 10488, promulgated on January 30 and made public on Saturday.

It added that other blog or social media page that is endorsing a candidate will be considered as another blog or social media page of the latter.

According to the resolution, a “blog” and “collective blog” refer to websites, on which an individual or group of users, respectively, records news, opinions, and information, in varying degrees of regularity.

A “micro-blog” refers to a blogging format which allows users to exchange small elements of content — referred to variously as posts, entries or status updates — such as short sentences, individual images, or links to video material uploaded to the Internet.

On the other hand, it added that “Social Media” refers to the collective of online communication channels, including websites and applications, which enable users to create and share content, collaborate, and interact with each other.

For the purposes of these rules, video-sharing sites that allow users to post comments on individual entries shall be considered as falling within the broad category of “social media.”

The poll body said that “Social Media Account” refers to a user’s personalized access to a social networking site or application. Typically using a username and password combination.

A social media account allows a user to interact with other users on the same social networking site.

“Social Media Post” refers to any text, audio or graphic content — or any combination thereof — publishes online using a social media account.

At the same time, the Comelec reminded the candidates of the aggregate amount they may spend during election campaign.

Candidates who belong to a political party are only allowed to spend PHP3 per voter while independent bets are allowed to spend PHP5 per voter.

Party-list groups, meanwhile, may spend PHP5 per voter.

As for campaign materials, the size of pamphlets, leaflets, among others should not exceed eight-and-a-half inches in width and 14 inches in length.

Streamers should not exceed three feet by eight feet in size.

These materials may be posted in authorized common poster area in public places and private property, provided that the posting has the consent of the owner.

The Comelec noted that violation of the Fair Elections Act and these rules constitute an election offense punishable under the Omnibus Election Code in addition to administrative liability, whether applicable.

The campaign period for national positions, senator and party-list representative will begin on February 12 while the local candidates will have their campaign period starting March 29.

The campaign period for this year's mid-term elections will end on May 11. (PNA)