New York consulate assures to prioritize voting ops after staff test positive for COVID-19

New York consulate assures to prioritize voting ops after staff test positive for COVID-19

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Consulate General in New York said they suspended consular operations because some of their staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. 

“The reason we’re doing this is because a number of personnel of the consulate tested positive for COVID-19 so we want to apologize, we hope our kababayans that are affected by the suspension of our consular operations will understand,” Philippine Consul General Elmer Cato said in a mix of English and Filipino on Wednesday evening, Manila time.

The consulate announced Wednesday that its operations will be temporarily unavailable beginning today and will resume on Monday next week, April 25.

However, the foreign service post said that it will reach out to those who have appointments set for this week for their rescheduled dates.

“We promised that we would give priority to them, we would give them new schedules so that we could accommodate them for the consular services they applied for,” Cato said.

Overseas voting operations prioritized

The consulate said it had sent out 69% of the election packets to registered voters under their jurisdiction. 

“Our overseas voting processes and operations will not be affected. We are giving priority to this. There are only a few of us left here, despite that we will continue working to allow us to send out the remaining ballots,” Cato said in a mix of English and Filipino.

In the comments of the video post, the consulate clarified a query on the ballots handled by the infected personnel. "Everyone just has to practice the usual protocols in handling mail matters," the consulate said said.

More than 1.697 million registered Filipino voters abroad have until May 9 to cast their votes. 

The consulate covers 39,048 land-based voters across 10 states, namely: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. They may cast their ballots via postal voting. 

Election paraphernalia arrived a day late last week after the Commission on Elections encountered logistical problems and late deliveries from suppliers. — Kaycee Valmonte



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