TACLOBAN CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday reminded candidates to seek an exemption if they want to distribute aid to victims of Tropical Depression Agaton in Eastern Visayas.
While the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) are expected to lead the distribution of relief goods, reelectionist local officials can still give aid if they are permitted by the poll body.
“We are not aware if any candidate from Eastern Visayas submitted a formal petition to distribute goods to ‘Agaton’ victims,” Comelec assistant regional director Felicisimo Embalsado said in an interview.
Under Section 2 of Comelec Resolution 10747 issued on Dec. 16, 2021, candidates and their families are prohibited, directly and indirectly, be involved in relief goods distribution to calamity victims.
“Should a disaster or calamity occur, all releases are usually coursed through the DSWD and PRC subject to supervision by the Commission on Audit. Our election officers are tasked to monitor the compliance,” Embalsado said.
He said the restrictions are not designed to disrupt post-disaster response but to insulate the aid distribution from political partisan activities.
“Agaton” dumped heavy rains in Eastern Visayas that triggered landslides and flooding in Eastern Visayas between April 10 to April 12.
In Baybay City and Abuyog town in Leyte, at least 202 bodies have been found from debris as of April 21.
Reports reaching the police regional office showed that there are 602 villages affected by the weather disturbance, displacing 111,230 families in the Eastern Visayas region. (PNA)
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