‘Oplan Baklas’ takes down over 19K poll posters in C. Luzon

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Over 19,000 pieces of campaign materials illegally nailed and tacked on trees along main roads and thoroughfares in Central Luzon were removed following a series of operations under the “Oplan Baklas,” the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Central Luzon (DENR-3) said on Friday.

DENR Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno Jr. said the move complies with the directive issued by DENR Secretary Jim Sampulna on March 21, 2022, to promote environmentally conscious elections by urging political parties and supporters to post poll advertisements and other paraphernalia only in common poster areas and spare trees from any campaign materials.

Moreno said the DENR-3, together with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other enforcement agencies intensified their efforts to remove illegally posted campaign materials in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Pampanga, which are among the vote-rich provinces in the Philippines.

“Trees are vital to our environment. Nailing them with posters and streamers will not only reduce their aesthetic values but will likewise pose a threat of infestation, as nailed parts may serve as entry points to fungi, bugs, termites, among others,” he said in a statement.

Moreno added that solid wastes, particularly non-biodegradable and single-used plastics, accumulated during the three-month campaign period could increase, especially if proper disposal and recycling would not be observed by the public.

Moreno warned the public that any person found violating Section 3 of the Republic Act 3571, which prohibits cutting, destroying, or injuring planted or growing trees, may be punished with a penalty ranging from six months to two years imprisonment and a fine of up to PHP5,000.

Even before or after the campaign period, the DENR is empowered by law to take down any material attached to trees in a way that is damaging to the plant.

Comelec Assistant Regional Director Elmo Duque, meanwhile, lamented the lack of political maturity by some candidates following the proliferation of campaign posters found in public places outside designated posting areas.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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