Metro Manila mayors do not think the start of the campaign period for the 2022 elections caused a “notable” spike in Covid-19 cases since it started on Feb. 8, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said on Wednesday.

In a virtual presser, MMDA officer in charge Romando Artes said most local government units in the region remained under low risk for Covid-19 amid the campaign season.

“Sinabi po nila na despite yung mga political activities natin, malaking pagtitipon, rallies, motorcades, wala pong notable spike sa kaso ng Covid-19 itong pong past two weeks,” Artes said, citing reports of the region’s mayors.

However, only the national campaign has begun. Local candidates will start campaigning on March 25.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has prohibited candidates in the 2022 elections from kissing, taking selfies with and shaking the hands of voters during campaign activities.

The Comelec, in Resolution No. 10732, said the restrictions on traditional campaign activities were imposed to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

The following are prohibited during in-person campaigns, rallies, caucuses, meetings, motorcades and caravans:

  • handshakes, hugs, kisses, going arm-in-arm in any action that involves physical contact among the candidate, their companions , and the public;
  • taking selfies, photographs and other similar activities that require close proximity between the candidate and their companions, and the public;
  • distribution of food and drink, and all other goods or items;
  • entering any private dwelling during house-to-house campaigning, even with the express permission of the homeowner; and
  • crowding, or allowing crowds that violate minimum public health standards (MPHS) around the candidate and his or her companions.

The campaign period for candidates for president, vice president and senator and party-list groups is from Feb. 8 to May 7, excluding Apr. 14 and 15, which is the two-day Holy Week break.

Metro Manila has 20,146 of the country’s 56,668 active Covid-19 cases as of Feb. 22.

The region’s mayors have recommended a shift to the more lenient Alert Level 1.

Metro Manila’s positivity rate has dipped to below five percent, according to the OCTA Research Team. John Ezekiel J. Hirro