Dioceses ban campaign materials in church properties

Dioceses ban campaign materials in church properties

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga. NICO BALBEDINA

By Roy Lagarde

February 11, 2019

Manila, Philippines

As the campaign period for the May 13 elections starts, a number of dioceses imposed a directive banning political materials in church properties.

In the Diocese of Balanga, posting of campaign materials and political rallies are prohibited in church premises.

“We have pastoral directive that there will no political tarpaulins in any church patio and fences,” said Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga.

He said that lay parish officials who are working for a candidate must also take a leave of absence from their church duties.

“And no political candidate (will be allowed) to offer during offertory processions,” the bishop added.

Last October, Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona of Caceres also imposed the same measure to safeguard the non-partisanship of the archdiocese.

In his directive, he said that even the conduct of mass weddings and baptisms sponsored by any political candidate or party is prohibited.

“It is also prohibited to solicit from political candidates or political parties donation for church renovation and constructions or other church or other projects,” Tirona said.

The Church, he said, can only exercise its mandate of promoting a peaceful elections by embracing “impartiality, independence and non-partisanship”.

Tirona instead urged parishes to organize voters’ education activities and participate in fora for candidates to showcase their political platform and agenda.