Tarpaulins and health cards bearing photos of President Rodrigo Duterte and his aide Secretary Bong Go were spotted at the Philippine General Hospital.
These were seen following the appearance of the special assistant to the president at the launching of Malasakit Center, a one-stop center that aims to assist less fortunate Filipinos on their health concerns and medical expenses.
Priority is given to senior citizens and people with disabilities.
The project is in cooperation with the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, PhilHealth, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
The center was discovered to be distributing health cards that featured Go and Duterte’s faces, but without their names. Social media users were quick to react.
In addition, campaign tarpaulins of Go were spotted within PGH’s walls.
Some doctors and students called on the premiere state hospital to take down the tarpaulins. The UP Medicine Student Council released a statement against what its members called “campaign materials” and “premature campaigning” inside the state-owned facility.
PGH is operated by the University of the Philippines-Manila. It is a tertiary state-run hospital and is considered the largest government hospital administered by the university.
Part of the UP Medicine Student Council’s statement reads:
“We urge the UP-PGH Administration to take down the said materials and to implement more stringent regulations in security to avoid future situations such as this.”
“The national tertiary referral hospital should live up to its mandate of catering not to politicians and the elite, but to the underserved Filipino people.”
Go’s health cards also reminded some Filipinos of the PhilHealth cards given out by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2004.
Go, meanwhile, is said to be preparing for the 2019 elections and is increasing his visibility through tarpaulins and paraphernalia appearing all over the country that bears his name, face and slogan.
Why Comelec will not do anything about it
According to the Commission on Elections’ Resolution 9615 pursuant to “The Fair Election Act,” any election campaign or propaganda materials displayed “outside of authorized common poster areas, in public places, or in private properties without the consent of the owner” is illegal.
The resolution defines public places as “schools, shrines, barangay halls, health centers, public structures and buildings,” among others.
However, it only applies during the campaign period. Aspiring public officials are expected to file their certificate of candidacy on October 2018.
Go has not yet filed for his candidacy so his tarpaulins and health cards at the PGH cannot be considered acts of premature campaigning based on Comelec’s rules.
According to a previous report, such acts can only be considered premature campaigning if the individual has actually filed for candidacy.