Robredo: Pandemic didn't cancel Manila 'white sand' opening, shouldn't push back polls
People were seen crowding on a footbridge to see and visit the stretch of Manila Bay's shore covered with crushed dolomite rocks on September 20, 2020.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Robredo: Pandemic didn't cancel Manila 'white sand' opening, shouldn't push back polls
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - September 27, 2020 - 1:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is no reason to postpone the 2022 national elections because of the coronavirus pandemic when the government can open Manila Bay’s artificial "white sand" beach to the public, Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday.

Rep. Mikey Arroyo (Pampanga) earlier in the floated the idea of postponing the next national elections, saying his constituents are afraid to vote due to possible exposure to the new coronavirus.

But Robredo shot down the proposal, citing that South Korea successfully held elections in the middle of a raging pandemic. The United States and New Zealand are also preparing to hold their respective polls, she added.

“Kung kayang buksan ‘yung Manila Bay, bubuksan na rin ‘yung Boracay, bubuksan ‘yung ibang tourism sites, walang dahilan para i-postpone,” Robredo said in her weekly radio show.

(If we can open Manila Bay, we are also opening Boracay and other tourism sites, we have no reason to postpone it.)

Last week, people flocked to the “white sand” beach along Manila Bay after it was briefly opened to the public. Photos and videos showed people crowding and not practicing physical distance despite efforts to limit visitors inside the beach area.

Boracay, the country’s top tourist destination, is also set to open its shores to tourists from general community quarantine and modified GCQ area starting October 1.

Scenario with COVID-19

The Commission on Elections said it is already preparing to conduct polls during COVID-19 pandemic.

“As far as the Comelec is concerned, it is already given that by 2022, there is still a pandemic. That is the basis of our preparations,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in an interview on radio dzBB Friday.

“At this point, we don’t see a need for it. We do not see the need for a postponement,” he added.

Jimenez said they are studying ways to expand alternative voting methods and moving polling places to gymnasiums or covered courts instead of small classrooms to avoid crowding. The commission is also looking into whether elections may be held in two to three days instead of just one day.

Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution provides that “unless otherwise provided by law, the regular election for president and vice president shall be on the second Monday of May.”

2022 ELECTIONS LENI ROBREDO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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