By Daniza Fernandez | Inquirer.net
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MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday said that it may release the voting guidelines for the 2022 elections by October 1.
“Ang ginagawa natin syempre nakikipagtulungan tayo sa iba’t ibang ahensya, partikular dun sa mga relevant health authorities… Pero, ngayon pa lang, ‘di pa man tapos ‘yung guidelines natin, ine-expect natin mailalabas natin ‘yan by October 1,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said during the voter registration launch of the Bayan Mo, Patrol Mo, and Star Magic.
(What we do is we coordinate with other agencies, particularly relevant health authorities. But now, even though the guidelines are not yet finished, it is expected to be released by October 1.)
The Comelec, Jimenez said, is in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases in drafting the voting guidelines.
Despite the unreleased guidelines, Jimenez gave a walk-through on what the approaching election season would look like.
Campaign rally rules
He said that in-person campaigning and rallies would still be allowed. He, however, noted that safety guidelines such as physical distancing would be imposed.
“Liliit ang mga audience, magi-space out ‘yung mga tao, ‘di sila pwedeng dikit-dikit. Hindi katulad dati na talagang shoulder-to-shoulder ‘yung mga naga-attend ng mga rally,” Jimenez explained.
(The audience will be smaller and they will have to space out. Unlike before, rally attendees are shoulder-to-shoulder.)
Special poll precincts
On election day, Jimenez said there will be isolation polling places and accessible polling places.
The isolation polling places would be set up to accommodate voters who may show COVID-19 symptoms or other illnesses.
“Kung kayo ay may sakit or nilalagnat, or mukhang may duda tayo na baka tinamaan kayo ng COVID, kayo po ay dadalhin sa isang isolation polling place. Ang isolation polling place, ang ibig po sabihin niyan, ito po’y hiwalay na polling place. Diyan kayo boboto para ligtas kayo at ligtas din yung ibang mga botante na wala namang health issues.,” he pointed out.
(If you are ill, febrile or a suspected COVID case, you will be directed to an isolation polling place. An isolation polling place means a separate polling place where you will cast your vote to ensure your safety and the safety of others who do not have any health issues.)
“Ito po ay ginagawa ng Comelec dahil naniniwala ang Comelec na ang pagkakaroon ng COVID or ng karamdaman ay hindi pwedeng maging dahilan para hindi kayo makaboto,” Jimenez said.
(Comelec will do this because we believe that a COVID-19 infection or any illness is not a hindrance to vote.)
Meanwhile, accessible polling places would cater to senior citizens and persons with comorbidities.
Further, Jimenez urged the qualified and still unregistered voters to register. Voter registration ends on September 30, 2021.