By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila Bulletin
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has resolved to use in the March 13, 2021 Palawan plebiscite all the accountable and non-accountable forms that were printed for the purpose of the May 11, 2020 Palawan plebiscite that was postponed due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
In Resolution No. 10684, the Comelec said all dates appearing in the printed plebiscite accountable and non-accountable forms as May 11, 2020 shall be read as March 13, 2021.
The poll body said for purposes of uniformity and to avoid confusion, “all other forms that will be printed in the future for purposes of the Palawan plebiscite, shall bear the date May 11, 2020.”
The Comelec originally scheduled the conduct of the plebiscite to ratify the division of the province of Palawan into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur on May 11, 2020.
This is in accordance to Republic Act No. 11259 which provides that the plebiscite should be held on the second Monday of May 2020.
In April 2020, the Comelec suspended the May 11 plebiscite due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Enhanced Community Quarantine in Luzon.
The en banc agreed with the recommendation of its Law Department that holding of a free and honest plebiscite on May 11, 2020 is impossible at the height of the spread of the COVID-19.
On October 8, 2020, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the proposal to already hold the plebiscite in Palawan.
The poll body then set the plebiscite to March 13, 2021.