By Adrian Ayalin | ABS-CBN News
MANILA – The Commission on Elections said Thursday the 2022 elections would push through even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists.
Comelec chairperson Sheriff Abas said the pandemic may not be over by next year and health and safety protocols should be considered for the 2022 elections.
“Mandato po ng Comelec na i-conduct ang ating election on May 2022, tuloy na tuloy po ang ating 2022 elections. Ang inyong komisyon po ay nagpe-prepare, masyado na po kaming busy,” he said.
(It is Comelec’s mandate to conduct the May 2022 elections. It will push through. The commission is busy preparing.)
Meanwhile, the campaign period for the March 13, 2021 plebiscite for the division of Palawan into three provinces also began Thursday.
A total of 490,639 voters in Palawan, except Puerto Princesa City, are expected to participate in the plebiscite for the ratification of Republic Act No. 11259, said Comelec Director Teopisto Elnas.
Some 8,877 public school teachers will man 2,959 polling places, while 487 support supervisors will serve as marshals in voting centers, Elnas said.
He added that ballots and election returns have been printed and prepared for shipment to Palawan, as well as anti-COVID-19 supplies.
Among the health and safety protocols to be implemented is the setting up of “isolation polling places” to accommodate those who would register a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or list down symptoms in the health declaration form.
“There will be medical personnel for each and every voting center who will evaluate voters, check temperature of voters and if the voter registers 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher, he will be re-evaluated and re-assessed and then endorsed to isolation polling places for him to cast his vote,” Elnas said.
Face masks are required before entering polling areas while the use of face shields is encouraged, Abas said.
“Kung mayroon po kayong face shield sana suotin ninyo, at mandatory po ang ating face mask,” Abas said.
(If you have a face shield, please wear it. The wearing of face mask is mandatory.)
Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. said the commission would be “non-partisan” in the conduct of the plebiscite.