Election period may halt aid to farmers hit by drought

The Commission on Elections said Friday it fears the 2019 election period may hamper the release of cash aid to drought-affected farmers due to a law stopping the government from disbursing public funds during an election.

Election period may halt aid to farmers hit by drought
SILLY SEASON STARTS. A woman walks past campaign posters of local politicians and party-list groups on a fence along Harrison Street in Pasay City on Friday, as the official campaign period for the midterm local elections begins. Lino Santos
The Comelec has repeatedly reminded all political candidates from giving “cash assistance” to constituents, which could be used to accuse them of an election offense.

Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police said Friday it had deployed personnel across the country to ensure peace and order as the local campaign period began. 

“As of today, the peace and order [situation] in the country is generally peaceful, and we see that hopefully this will be maintained until election day on May 13,” said PNP Spokesman Police Col. Bernard Banac.

He told ANC’s Headstart that the PNP hd deployed personnel who were ready to respond to any eventuality.

He also said there were 941 areas nationwide declared as election hotspots.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez spoke of an election rule against releasing government funds during the election period. But he said exemptions could be made depending on the situation.

He said the unauthorized release of public funds may be directly or indirectly considered a violation of the election code.

Office of Civil Defense Administrator Ricardo Jalad said extending cash assistance to farmers affected by the drought had become difficult during the campaign season.

“We need the approval from the Comelec in the release of cash assistance to affected farmers,” Jalad said in a radio interview.

 He said the national government could put additional funds should local government funds for calamities fade out. 

Topics: Commission on Elections , Philippine National Police , Bernard Banac , James Jimenez
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