Newly-assigned provincial election supervisor Jerome Brillantes clarified that candidates in the coming elections and their relatives are strictly prohibited from distributing aid to drought-affected farmers due to severe continuing El NiÃ±o.
It was learned that Comelec issued Resolution No. 3479 or the Rules and Regulations Governing Public Works Ban and Release, Disbursement and Expenditures of Public Funds.Â Under Section 1, paragraph 2 of the resolution provides that â€œno candidate or his or her spouse or member of his family within the second civil degree of affinity or consanguinity, shall participate, directly or indirectly, in the distribution of any relief or other goods to the victims of the calamity or disaster.â€
Â Recently, the provincial government declared the province under the state of calamity.
Brillantes said in an interview at his office that the distribution could be done via Red Cross or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) apparently to prevent bets from taking advantage of the aid or relief goods distribution.
He said that Comelec en banc has already given the exemptions to these agencies.
Â Capitol officials are very careful in handling and use of calamity fund to help cushion the impact of El NiÃ±o thatâ€™s now wrecking havoc to farmlands and livestock. The damage is now placed at Php300 million plus.
Provincial board member Atty. Abeleon Damalerio issued the statement following the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) unanimous approval of a Resolution placing the province of Bohol under the state of calamity.
â€œAron di ma-foul,â€ is how Damalerio, agriculture committee chair of the SP, described the precautionary move in the use of calamity fund.
Calamity fund in every local government unit could not be used or disbursed without first securing a legislative measure, like a Resolution, placing such LGU under the state of calamity, a former kagawad said.
Damalerio said that the passage of the said Resolution will be in accordance with the existing parameters and guidelines and other rules and regulations.Â The social welfare department of the province would be the one to handle the distribution of aids to the El Nino-affected municipalities in a bid to help the farmers affected by the calamity, he said.
This scheme must be in order so that the use of said fund would not be interpreted as election kitty of the present administration. He said that the office of the provincial agriculture has provided the officials with data on the extent of the damage.
Meanwhile in Garcia-Hernandez town, a poll campaign started to grind withÂ newly-designated election officer Grace Celocia Aclan on the move.
She told barangay officials here that the voterâ€™s receipt taken by a voter after casting his vote inside the precinct area should be put inside a separate ballot box and should not be taken outside the polling place.
She said failure of doing such, is an election offense.
Aclan also reminded the voters should also see to it that the contents of the receipt should reflect to the screen of the voting machine.
When asked if a discrepancy occurs, say, the contents of the receipt like the candidates a voter chose do not match with the machineâ€™s screen what will prevail, Aclan said, it should be the contents that appeared on the screen.
But still the receipt should be placed in the box provided for the purpose by the voter himself, she said.
Aclan said that the final testing and sealing (FTS) shall take place sometime this month.
She urged the voters to go to their respective precincts early to cast vote. Voting will start at 6 in the morning and will end at 5 in the afternoon on May 9, 2016.
If the voting is not yet through when time is up and still there are other registered voters who have yet to vote theyâ€™ll be allowed and listed as long as theyâ€™re within on inside the 20-meter perimeter or inside the polling place designated by the Comelec, she said.
Aclan also made it clear that special lane for the senior citizens, pregnant women and persons with disabilities (PWDs) is also provided in accordance with the rules and regulations.Â She also told officials here that sheâ€™ll be roaming around in 30 barangays for the voterâ€™s education drive. (rvo)