2022 polls might have to be done in phases, over several days — Galvez


MANILA, Philippines — The government's chief implementer against COVID-19 on Wednesday bared they are eyeing to propose several days to hold the country's general elections in 2022, citing the threat of coronavirus transmission.

Secretary Carlito Galvez Jr. said on the Kapihan sa Manila Bay news forum that it would not be "feasible" to conduct next year's polls in just a single day where millions would have to troop to precincts. 

He said that many voters would be in the same place at the same time, which would increase the risk of transmission. "So we're looking at the possiblity of conducting the election multi-day or maybe these will be done in phases," he said partially in Filipino.

He said among the options is voting in phases by island group.

Galvez added the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or the IATF, as well as the National Task Force Against COVID-19 are working with the Commission on Elections on the multi-day polls proposal.

The 1987 Constitution sets the country's election every three or six years on the second Monday of May, "unless otherwise provided by law" and Galvez agreed changing how elections are done will need to be done through legislation.

Congress is working on the national budget for 2022 and has historically seen lower attendance towards elections as members prepare to run in the coming polls.

"We will collectively plan this with Comelec and also maybe with the Senate and Congress," Galvez added.

Comelec held a plebiscite in March on the proposal to divide Palawan province, where around 50,000 people voted. Health protocols, including limiting the number of people allowed inside a voting precinct, were used in those polls.

Comelec had told a House inquiry last week that there are now 61.08 million registered voters, with further voter registration resuming in areas under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine starting September 6.

The election body has rejected extending voter registration beyond September 30, it has allowed longer hours and added holidays and Saturdays for it.

Filipinos will flock to polling stations on May 9, 2022 to make the crucial choice of electing their next leaders, who would need to see the country out of the coronavirus pandemic and on to recovery. — Christian Deiparine with reports from Kristine Joy Patag




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