Manila Bulletin : DOH urges Comelec to find ‘alternative ways’ for COVID-19 patients to cast their votes in 2022 elections

News & Interviews
17 September 2021

By Analou de Vera | Manila Bulletin

The Department of Health (DOH) is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look for ways on how coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients will be able to vote in the upcoming national and local elections next year.

“Sana po (We hope) Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for those COVID positive patients,” said DOH Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire on Friday, Sept. 17.

Vergeire said that the DOH is not recommending allowing COVID-19 positive patients to leave the isolation centers.

“Ang Department of Health po ay hindi po natin inirerekomenda na ang mga COVID-19 positive patients ay lalabas po ng kanilang (The Department of Health does not recommend that COVID-19 positive patients leave their) isolation area to do this kind of activity because this might have some form of transmission and infect other people,” she said.

Vergeire suggested virtual voting for COVID-19 patients.

“Baka pwede naman pong virtual na lang, digital through SMS kung makakagawa po tayo ng ganitong proseso (Maybe it can be done virtually, digital through SMS if we can do this process),” she said.

Last Aug. 29, Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said that they are still conducting a discussion on how COVID-19 patients will be able to cast their votes.

He then said that they are eyeing to adopt the voting process being implemented for persons deprived of liberty (PDLs), where election personnel will go to prisons and allow them to vote.