Mindanao diocese bemoans election campaign racket

Ear-splitting candidate jingles are contributing to noise pollution and affecting church services, priest says
Mindanao diocese bemoans election campaign racket

Supporters of candidates for this year's Philippine midterm elections drum up support on the campaign trail. (Photo by Jire Carreon)

A Catholic diocese on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao have called for election candidates to stop or turn down their “ear-splitting” campaign jingles in the run-up to national and local elections on May 13 elections.

Father Ariel Destora, Social Action Center director of Marbel Diocese, slammed the "noise pollution" caused by sound systems — mostly blaring from vehicles — used by candidates.

He said the din from roving sound systems that play campaign ditties are even disrupting the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

"These loud campaign jingles are detestable," said the priest, adding whoever operates them and candidates should respect places of worship.

Election rules, however, allow their use.

Father Destora said the sound systems, composed of big amplifiers on top of cargo trucks, make such a racket the ground shakes.

The priest stopped short of calling on voters to boycott candidates who contribute to noise pollution.

Members of the diocese social action office have been urging voters to vote for candidates who will work for the "common good," and who are "competent, credible and compassionate."

Marbel Diocese has pastoral jurisdiction over the provinces of South Cotabato, Sarangani and parts of Sultan Kudarat and the cities of Koronadal and General Santos in Mindanao.

Last week, church leaders reminded candidates in this year's elections to respect the solemnity of liturgical celebrations in churches.

"[Candidates] should instruct supporters to refrain from making noises near churches especially if there are Masses being celebrated," said Father Jerome Secillano, of the public affairs office of the Catholic bishops' conference.

Meanwhile, children rights group Salinlahi launched a social media campaign to educate voters about "Filipino children's agenda."

A two-minute video featuring children from urban poor communities was asking the electorate to vote for candidates who will uphold and protect children's rights.

"We have gathered children’s thoughts and opinions on what issues greatly affect them and what kind of candidate they want to win in upcoming elections," said Eule Rico Bonganay, Salinlahi’s secretary-general.

In the video, children enumerate the characteristics of a candidate they want the public to vote for, including those who are honest and "those who will not steal people's money."

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Filipinos will be electing 12 senators, House of Representatives members, and provincial and local leaders next month.

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