As the May 9 election nears, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas (DSWD-7) on Wednesday reminded candidates not to use the department’s programs, projects, and services to advance their political agenda.
Rebecca Geamala, DSWD-7 regional director, said in a statement the agency issued Memorandum Circular No. 9 laying down policy guidelines on strengthening their partnership with stakeholders during the election period and non-election seasons to safeguard their program and services from possible interference by the politicians.
“The policy provides for the grievance mechanism of the Department in responding to reports on politicians using and/or mentioning any of the programs of DSWD in their campaign speeches or strategies,” Geamala said.
She said among the prohibited acts are putting names of politicians on the packaging of relief items and distribution of such as their own supplies, as well as claiming that DSWD goods or programs are provided due to their influence.
According to the memorandum circular, activities of the agency are not to be used to influence the vote of a person.
Display of election paraphernalia such as tarpaulins, banners, posters, stickers, and T-shirts that prominently feature names, pictures, or logos of candidates or parties on activity materials is not allowed.
The same issuance does not allow distribution of election materials such as flyers, leaflets, and sample ballots; playing of campaign jingles and other election-related audio or video materials; and campaigning by any political candidates, political party, and/or their supporters.
Meanwhile, activities that involve the gathering of beneficiaries are allowed, such as meetings with volunteers or parent leaders when needed, as long as these are not held for any politician.
The policy requires officials and employees of DSWD to file a comprehensive incident report if they personally witnessed or actually experienced the prohibited acts of the politicians.
“The report shall be supported by official communications including but not limited to pictures, official documents, and sworn statements of employees and their witnesses including barangay or police blotter, whenever applicable,” the DSWD-7 statement said.
The agency also entered into a tripartite agreement with the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Commission on Elections for the reimplementation of the 2013 memorandum of agreement and joint memorandum circular seeking to safeguard their programs and services from interference by politicians and from being used in partisan activities.
Source: Philippines News Agency