MANILA — With mid-term elections slated for May 2019, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Thursday called on media companies to lower rates for political advertisements to allow more candidates to run and provide the people with more qualified aspirants to choose from during the election.
“Article II, Section 26 of our Constitution provides that the State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service. In this day and age, an undeniable feature of running a successful election campaign involves media exposure. Unfortunately, many qualified but financially disadvantaged candidates are unable to compete in this regard because of prohibitive rates charged by media entities,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel noted that media entities have always been willing to lower rates for certain parties so there should be no issue with lowering prices in the interest of democratizing public service.
“Money was never a qualification for public office under the Constitution, but only rich people or those backed by wealthy financiers are able to run due to the costs of campaigning,” he said.
“The reason we have campaign spending limits is due to the temptation for corruption generated by excessive expenses during a campaign. Some politicians think it entitles them to ‘recoup’ their ‘investment’ using public funds,” Pimentel said.
It is for this reason, he said, that he filed Senate Bill No. 1777 which seeks to lower the cost of political advertisements.
Filed last April 4, 2018, the bill seeks to lower political advertisement rates by 50 percent for television, 30 percent for radio, and 20 percent for print ads, compared to the average rates charged to their most favored advertisers during the first three quarters of the two calendar years preceding the elections.
“This proposal complements our campaign against political dynasties. Reining in runaway campaign spending will allow more candidates to run, giving people more choices during the election. Voters won’t have to put up with the same old tired faces if they have more options to choose from,” Pimentel said. PNA-northboundasia.com