Don’t touch trees, says Baklas team

LAOAG CITY, Feb. 11  — The head of a task force created to enforce the removal of propaganda campaign materials outside poster zones has reminded politicians to spare the trees from harm when the national campaign season begins on February 13.

“Don’t touch our trees. (Spare them from harm) ,” Juan de los Reyes, provincial environment and natural resources officer (PENRO), said during a multi-sectoral meeting last week in preparation for the election campaign period.

De los Reyes will head a team of government, non-government including the private and government media which will implement the Operation Baklas during the election campaign period.

“Candidates must be mindful of the prohibition on piercing or nailing of posters, tarpaulins and other campaign paraphernalia on trees,” de los Reyes said.

“Trees suffer (when punctured with holes). Microorganisms could enter through those holes causing diseases to set in,” he added.

Piercing or nailing of campaign materials on trees in public places is punishable by law and the posting of campaign materials on electric posts and bridges is prohibited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Members of the Operation Baklas namely, the provincial Comelec, Philippine National Police, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Philippine Information Agency, private media and non-government sector will immediately work on extracting campaign materials on prohibited zones.

Operation Baklas has an operation center where the public can report instances of wrongful posting of materials using a hotline number that will be announced in the coming days.

The center will also keep a list of violators and they will inform the concerned candidate about his/her violation through mail.

Operation Baklas will continue even after election period to remove campaign materials if there are still any. (MCA/CJDG – PIA1 Ilocos Norte)#