By Daphne Galvez | Inquirer.net
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will release the final guidelines for the 2022 national elections by the last quarter of 2021, Chairman Sheriff Abas said Tuesday.
The polling body said it is still crafting the guidelines against the backdrop of the existing coronavirus pandemic situation, which is expected to persist well into the 2022 national and local elections.
“Ongoing pa yung aming proseso dahil hinihimay pa yung halos lahat ng protocols from canvassing, filing, from bilangan [ng boto], lahat. So siguro end or last qurater ng taong ito [ire-release],” Abas said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(Our process is still ongoing because we are still going through the protocols from canvassing, filing, counting of votes, everything. So maybe we will release it at the end of the year or last quarter of 2021.)
Comelec also has no decision yet whether it would ban face-to-face campaigning, though one commissioner has said that it is still possible, provided strict adherence to health protocols will be followed.
Among the protocols being considered in the 2022 polls is limiting the number of voters in each precinct to five at a time, Abas said.
This will be done in the Palawan plebiscite set on March 13 and the polling body will see whether such protocol will be effective.
Health and safety protocols such as the wearing of face masks and face shields and practicing social distancing will also be put in place during the 2022 elections, Abas said.
“Marami tayong ilalatag d’yan but depende yan sa magiging assessment ng ating health experts lalo na ‘yung IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases). Susunod kami sa mungkahi ng health experts,” he said.
(We will lay down many protocols but it will depend on the assessment of experts, especially the IATF. We will abide by the pronouncements of health experts.)
Comelec earlier released the calendar for 2022 polls, setting the filing of certificates of candidacy from Oct. 1 to 8, including Saturdays and Sundays.
Meanwhile, the election period commences on Jan. 9 until June 8 of 2022.
The campaign period in national positions (president, vice president, senator, and party-list groups) will be from Feb. 8, 2022, to May 7, 2022. Meanwhile, the campaign period for local positions (House of Representatives member, regional, provincial, city, and municipal officers) will begin on March 25, 2022 until May 7, 2022.