Candidates nowhere to be seen as DPWH, brgy. officials remove campaign materials

Despite a directive from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), candidates in the recent local elections were nowhere to be seen as barangay officials largely shouldered the burden of removing campaign materials.

Several barangays in the capital town of Virac complied with the order of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reminding all local government units and candidates to remove and dispose all campaign waste materials within three (3) days.

IN CALATAGAN, VIRAC, barangay officials headed by Chairman Antonio Reyes lead the removal of campaign posters and other paraphernalia along streets as well as those illegally placed on posts and public structures. The lumber in the frames will be reused by the barangay for other purposes while the tarpaulin plastic can be repurposed as bags.

“Clean-up of election litter is the first order of business after the polls. Aside from incumbent LGU officials, we urge all candidates, winners and non-winners alike, to take it upon themselves to lead in the removal of their campaign materials,” said the DILG chief.

In an advisory to local chief executives, he urged the proper disposal of election propaganda materials in line with environmental laws and local ordinances and regulations against illegal dumping, open burning, and littering.

He also prodded the utilization of barangay and LGU material recovery facilities to collect and restore reusable materials as well as in coming up with innovative and safe strategies to recycle or upcycle reusable campaign waste materials.

“Impose the responsibility to the organizers of political activities, to ensure that waste generated by their activities, and their attendees will be properly managed and disposed of,” he said in the advisory to LCEs.

“Hinihimok din po natin ang ating mga kababayan na makiisa sa clean up drive ng kanilang LGUs at barangay. We have done our part in exercising our right to vote. Let’s continue to participate in governance through our simple ways of cleaning up our neighborhood from election litter,” he said.

Año pointed out that campaign propaganda made of plastics and other non-biodegradable materials, if improperly disposed of, may have detrimental effects on public health and the environment.

Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) No. 9003, known as the “Ecological Solid Waste Management Act”, says that pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government Code, the LGUs shall be primarily responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the provisions of RA 9003 within their respective jurisdictions. “Segregation and collection of solid waste shall be conducted at the barangay level specifically for biodegradable, compostable and reusable wastes: Provided, that the collection of non-recyclable materials and special wastes shall be the responsibility of the municipality or city.”

In the 2019 midterm elections, Año said more than 168.84 tons of campaign materials were collected.

A number of barangays failed to immediately comply with the DILG order even as some of their counterparts proceeded to remove the posters as early as Friday morning.

The day before, crews of the DPWH Catanduanes District Engineering Office began dismantling campaign materials placed on designated common poster areas, on electric posts, trees and public infrastructure.

In Virac, MENRO-designate Andy Po said that the plastic tarpaulin materials will not be disposed in the temporary dumpsite as they are reused to make bags at the public market.

Calatagan barangay chairman Antonio Reyes told the Tribune that they would bring the removed materials to the village’s material recovery facility where the wood would be separated from the plastic for use in other projects of the barangay and for firewood.

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