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Could 9 polls to proceed even when COVID-19 instances enhance, Comelec execs say

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FILE PHOTO: Test voters participate in an end-to-end demonstration of the automated election system or vote-counting machines at a hotel in Manila ahead of the May elections. Philippine Daily Inquirer/MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — The conduct of May 9 polls will not be postponed even if there is a potential COVID-19 case surge, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Aimee Ferolino said Thursday.

“I don’t think we can postpone elections. We have already prepared for any eventualities. We have the supplies ready. We have already trained all our election workers,” said Ferolino in a press briefing.

“Kung ‘yung mga may spike (Regarding spikes), the committee on new normal has prepared on how to respond to that. Sabi nga nila, kahit anong mangyari (As they say, whatever happens), we will have elections,” she added.

The Comelec’s committee on new normal was established to COVID-proof the elections.

Commissioner Rey Bulay, meanwhile, said the poll body has contingencies on standby.

“Hindi tayo pwedeng bumali sa mandato ng ating Saligang Batas na elections should be held on the 9th of May 2022,” he said in the same briefing.

(We cannot go against the Constitution’s mandate that elections should be held on the 9th of May 2022.)

“Kami nandito (We are here) to make sure that it does kaya nga (that is why) everything’s put in place to answer for all contingencies,” he continued.

Earlier, the Department of Health warned that COVID-19 infections may soar by mid-May if compliance with minimum public health standards is eased.

The World Health Organization advised the Philippines to prepare as COVID-19 cases are likely to increase, especially after the May 9 elections.

KGA

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