Don’t touch our trees, says Operation Baklas head

LAOAG CITY, Feb. 11 (PIA) — The head of a task force created to enforce the removal of campaign materials outside poster zones has reminded politicians to spare the trees when the campaign season begins on February 12.

“Don’t touch our trees,” Juan de los Reyes, provincial environment and natural resources officer (Penro), said during a multi-sectoral meeting last week in preparation for the local 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 beginning February 12, a day before the campaign period for local candidates begin.

“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 on February 12.

Operation Baklas have 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 start on February 12 and will continue even after election period to remove mounds of campaign materials that are expected to be generated after the May elections. (MCA/CJDG – PIA1 Ilocos Norte)#

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