Mark the day May 9, 2022 (Monday), as this is when the anticipated National Election takes place in the Philippines. Henceforth, the right to suffrage of each Filipino citizen should be duly exercise without prejudice.
Is the Commission on Election (Comelec) equipped enough for this event? This coming National Election projected a lot of challenges due to the Health phenomena/condition in our nation. This is a glance to gain a better understanding on the Philippine Comelec preparation for the National election.
The Republic of the Philippines Commission in Election-Comelec issued Resolution 10727 promulgated on November 10, 2021, The General Instructions on May 9, 2022 National and Local Election specifically mentioning the following significant provisions related to safety and health protocols:
Sec. 67. Preparations of Ballots for Illiterate, Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and Senior Citizen (Sc) by an Assistor.
Sec. 69. Express Lane for Person with Disability, Senior Citizens, Heavily Pregnant Women, Escorted PDL voters and Indigenous People.
Article XI-Isolation Polling Place
Sec. 80. Establishing of an Isolation Polling Place (IPP)
There shall be an Isolation Polling Place (IPP) in every voting center, which shall be set up, as far as practicable, in one of the class rooms that is in a building separate from the other buildings of the voting center, preferably near the entrance, and the health personnel station. If no such room is available, a makeshift/temporary IPP shall be set up outside the voting center, which shall be strategically located near its entrance and the Medical Personnel Stationed.
The IPP must have a sample space capable of accommodation, at least five(5) voters, the IPP Support Staff and watchers, observing one (1) meter physical distancing, at any given time.
a. Waiting Area. Voters who are waiting for their turn to vote in the IPP shall be allowed to stay in a waiting area, situated preferably next to it, which can comfortably accommodate at least ten (10) voters, including their assistor, if any observing the one (1) meter physical distancing.
b. Who may Vote at the IPP. Voters who, upon temperature check at the entrance of the voting center, and who registers a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher may vote at the IPP.
Article XIII-COVID 19 Preventive Measures, Health and Safety Protocols During the Conduct of Final Testing and Sealing of VCM, Voting, Counting and Transmission of Election Results
Sec. 90. Steps to be followed before entry the Voting Center (VC): All persons entering the VC shall:
1. Be subject to temperature checking. If a voter registers a temperature of 37.5 Celsius or higher, said voter shall not be allowed to enter but shall be made rest for five (5) minutes before retaking the temperature. If on the second checking, the body temperature is still at 37.5 Celsius or higher, said person shall be escorted to IPP to cast his/her vote. This section shall also apply to those voters who are manifesting other COVID-19 symptoms.
2. Observe one-meter physical distancing and.
3. The DESO shall strictly ensure that the number of persons inside the VC does not exceed the allowed maximum capacity in accordance with prevailing IATF and LGU Rules and Guidelines on election day.
Sec. 91. Persons Not Allowed to Enter VC
1. Refuses to wear facemask and face shield;
2. Refuses to have his/her temperature taken or evaluated by the Medical Personnel to be suffering from a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius or Higher; and
3. Refuses to strictly observe any of the protocols set forth herein or any of the guidelines set by the government authorities and enumerated above.
The Republic of the Philippines Commission on Election meticulously contemplates the safety of the entire Election procedure. Finally, do not fear and vote wisely. Mabuhay Pilipinas!