MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday told political aspirants, parties, and their supporters that political rallies are still prohibited amid the persisting threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the newly discovered variant, Omicron.
In a statement, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said that special gatherings will only be allowed if permitted by the local government unit concerned and all public health protocols are strictly observed.
“Bawal pa po ang mga political rally. Hindi pa po campaign period. We have been seeing candidates, both national and local, staging political rallies here and there which gather hundreds if not thousands of people. Hindi pa po tapos ang pandemya. Parating pa ang Omicron variant,” he said.
“We cannot put our guard down. The Omicron variant has already reached many countries and it’s only a matter of time before it reaches us,” he added.
The DILG chief appealed to candidates, political parties, and their supporters nationwide to refrain from holding political rallies that will gather massive crowd, as this may become super-spreader events especially when health protocols are compromised.
Año stressed that only caravans and motorcades were given the green light because there is physical distancing and these are usually held for a limited time only.
They are also held in open areas where the possibility of the transmission of the coronavirus is small.
“Nakamonitor ang mga kapulisan sa mga caravan or motorcade at sinisiguro nila na may physical distancing, hindi katulad sa mga political rally na mahirap ikontrol ang mga tao,” he said.
“There is a time for everything and now is not the time to gather a huge number of people. Let’s wait for the campaign period. We are fortunate na bumababa ang kaso sa ating bansa but this is not the time to push our luck. COVID-19 is still here and we can’t be complacent,” he added.
The Commission on Elections said the official campaign period for the 2022 elections begins on February 8, 2022 for national candidates, and March 25, 2022 for local bets, including the position of Members of the House of Representatives.