Commission on Elections regional director Renato Magbutay said the Negros Occidental provincial government may continue to provide medical and hospital assistance to indigents in government hospitals during the election period.
Magbutay was responding to a query of Provincial Administrator Enrique Pinongan, requesting exemption from the election period prohibition in order to continue such activity.
He noted that Pinongan said that such activity is a regular and ongoing program coursed through hospitals that are directly paid by the provincial government and that no funds are being handed out to the patients.
Magbutay said programs regarding expenditures of public funds to aid constituents are not, per se, prohibited, and may be pursued without COMELEC approval, as long as the programs are normal and/or ordinary expenses of the government office implementing them.
The programs should not in any way be executed for campaigning but rather as a fulfillment of the obligations to constituents, he added.*CPG