Operation “Baklas” to start on Feb. 13

LAOAG CITY, Feb. 10 – As the political campaign period starts next  week, concerned authorities have positioned  themselves to watch out and ensure that propaganda campaign materials are posted within designated places.

The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office led a composite team of government agencies in launching the “Operation Baklas 2013,” which is designed to implement R.A. 3571, the law prohibiting the cutting and destruction of planted and growing trees and plants along public roads, plazas, parks, school premises and public grounds.The law also prohibits the piercing or nailing of propaganda campaign materials on  live trees in public places.

The ‘Baklas’ drive is intended to get rid of all campaign paraphernalia that are posted beyond their designated posts, said PENRO Chief Juan de los Reyes Jr.

“The election is fast approaching. Campaign materials will again be seen hanging beyond designated areas. Worst, these materials are  nailed on trees,” de los Reyes said during the multi-sectoral meeting yesterday. “They are eyesores and will create a huge waste. (On top of that) they are environmentally disastrous.”

Other agencies that will help PENRO in conducting ‘Baklas’ are the Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

The Philippine Information Agency and the private media will provide communication support to promote public awareness.

“We are all agents of the government. We are here to remind our candidates to be more conscious on posting their election campaign materials. We should practice fairness in our endeavor,” delos Reyes said.

He also advised the team members to be on guard against possible harassment by supporters of local and national candidates.

He assured members that police personnel have been designated to assist the group during clean-up operations.

De los Reyes also advised candidates to check with Comelec for the list of common poster areas applicable to them.

The team will officially launch the clean-up drive on February 12, a day before the campaign period for local candidates begins.

After the launching, the group will immediately implement the removal of campaign materials which are not in their designated areas. The drive will be conducted twice a month. The team will also come out with a list of candidates who violated the regulation. (MCA/CJDG – PIA1 Ilocos Norte)