LAOAG CITY – The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) has revived task force “Operation Baklas: Sagip Puno Tanggal Pako” as the official campaign period for national candidates kicked- off.

Composed of stakeholders from the Commission on Elections, Philippine National Police, Department of Public Works and Highways, Philippine Information Agency and DWFB-Radyo ng Bayan, the task force is mandated to remove or tear down election campaign paraphernalia on major
thoroughfares and trees in line with the poll body’s regulation on common poster areas.

PENRO Director Juan delos Reyes said that throughout the election period, candidates are expected to be more aware of the proper posting of their election posters, particularly the ‘no nailing on trees’ policy.

“In 2010, the task force was able to collect three dump trucks, two elves and a jeep full of campaign posters nailed on the trunk, branch, and twigs of the trees; and 36 kilos of nails. In 2013, collected materials were reduced and loaded on a dump truck with three kilos of nails used,” delos Reyes said.

He said some candidates opposed the removal of their campaign materials when the program was first launched. He added that awareness was raised with the help of the media.

“The media are doing a good job in the campaign to educate candidates on proper posting of materials,” de Los Reyes said.

During its initial operation, PENRO listed down candidates and party list representatives who had the most number of violations and had them aired over radio stations as a kind of “shame tactic.”

The strategy appeared to have worked because number of violations dropped in the following election season, according to de los Reyes..

Nailing of posters, tarpaulins and other campaign materials on trees is punishable under Presidential Decree 953, signed by then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1976, stating that it is unlawful to damage or
destroy “trees of any kind” in public roads, parks, plazas or other public areas.

De los Reyes said that the trees should be spared from destruction for the protection of the environment.

Task force members will be deployed to check on campaign materials that are outside the common poster areas as the campaign period for local candidates begins on March 26. PIA1-Ilocos Norte