46% of Filipinos say will not vote in 2022 if COVID-19 cases in their barangays are high — poll

46% of Filipinos say will not vote in 2022 if COVID-19 cases in their barangays are high â poll
People belonging to A1 to A4 categories queue for a Sinovac vaccine at Bagong Silang Elementary School in Caloocan City on June 9, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Nearly half of Filipinos say they will not vote in the upcoming national elections if coronavirus cases are high in their barangays, results of a Pulse Asia survey bared by a senator found. 

The survey focused mainly on vaccine hesitancy and was conducted from June 7 to June 16 with 2,400 respondents. However, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri commissioned a question on the 2022 polls, the findings of which were embargoed and revealed by him for the first time at a plenary session held Wednesday. 

According to Zubiri, 46% of respondents told Pulse Asia that they would not go out to vote on election day in May 2022 if COVID-19 cases in their barangay are high.

Another 35% said that they would still vote. The remaining 19% said they were unsure. 

The number of respondents who said they would stay home during elections was highest in Metro Manila at 57%, followed by Balance Luzon at 50%, Mindanao at 40%, and the Visayas at 37%. 

Meanwhile, respondents from Mindanao were the most willing to vote regardless of high cases in their area at 50%, trailed by Metro Manila at 35%, the Visayas at 32% and Balance Luzon at 29%. 

Those who said they were unsure were mostly from the Visayas at 32%, followed by Balance Luzon at 21%, Mindanao at 10% and Metro Manila at 7%. 

Herd immunity by this year 'a must' 

Given the survey's findings, Zubiri emphasized the importance of achieving herd immunity as soon as possible to avoid low voter turnout and single-digit margin victories at the 2022 polls. 

"It is a must that we achieve the target vaccination of 70 million Filipinos by the end of this year," he said. 

Several senators backed Zubiri's call to ramp up the vaccination program, with Senate President Vicente Sotto III further urging the pandemic task force to vaccinate everyone willing given the high rate of vaccine hesitancy in the country. 

The latest figures from the pandemic task force, also bared by Zubiri, show that only 6.84 million of 109 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is equivalent to just 6.27% of the population. 

— Bella Perez-Rubio 

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