Motorcades are allowed unlike, political rallies that remain prohibited, the Department of the Interior and Local Government said Thursday as it reminded election aspirants to be wary of the threat of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.
Interior Sec. Eduardo Año appealed to politicians to refrain from staging political rallies as these may become superspreader events if people flock to such events.
"Bawal pa po ang mga political rally. Hindi pa po campaign period. We have been seeing candidates, both national and local, staging political rallies here and there which gather hundreds if not thousands of people. Hindi pa po tapos ang pandemya. Parating pa ang Omicron variant,” Año said in a statement.
The Philippines is on the lookout for the new Omicron variant that was first reported in South Africa. While Manila has yet to report any case of the variant, Health Sec. Francisco Duque III had said that its entry to the country was only a "matter of when."
“There is a time for everything and now is not the time to gather a huge number of people. Let’s wait for the campaign period," Año said.
"Special" political gatherings may be permitted according to Año if the concerned local government units allow it, and on the condition that venue operational capacity and minimum public health standards are followed.
Motorcades however are allowed since these are held in open areas and physical distancing could be better observed, Año said.
“Nakamonitor ang mga kapulisan sa mga caravan or motorcade at sinisiguro nila na may physical distancing, hindi katulad sa mga political rally na mahirap ikontrol ang mga tao,” he said.
Several election aspirants have started going around the country to hold forums, motorcades, feeding programs, and other promotional activities ahead of the official campaign period.
Based on the Commission on Election's calendar, the official campaign period starts on Feb. 8 for national posts and March 25 for local posts.