Comelec to use IPPs for Palawan plebiscite

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Isolation polling places or IPPs will be put up to secure the safety and health of voters participating in a plebiscite intended to divide Palawan into three provinces, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported yesterday.

In a virtual press conference, Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr. said voters manifesting symptoms of COVID such as fever, colds and cough would be required to cast their votes in the IPPs.

“As a safety measure for voters participating in the plebiscite, the Comelec deemed it necessary to set up the IPPs,” Kho said.

“Those who will refuse to vote in the IPPs will not be allowed to cast their votes in regular polling precincts. This is being done for the safety and security of every voter,” he added.

The plebiscite will be conducted on March 13. Should the yes votes win, the island will be divided into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur.

Jovencio Balanguit, chief of the Comelec vulnerable sectors’ office, said voters who would register a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius or higher or would answer yes in any of the questions contained in the health declaration are required to cast their votes in the IPPs.

The IPPs can accommodate five voters at a time.

Kho said the IPPs are not intended to prohibit voters from casting their votes, but to protect the health of those participating in the plebiscite.

Depending on the state of the COVID pandemic, Kho said the Comelec may also put up IPPs during the May 2022 elections.

“If this will turn out successful, we may adopt it in the May 2022 elections, because this will be the first time for us to hold an electoral exercise amid a pandemic,” Kho said.

Express lanes for the elderly, persons with disabilities (PWDs) and pregnant women will also be put up during the voting.

Over 97,000 voters from the vulnerable sectors such as the elderly, PWDs and indigenous peoples’ groups are expected to participate in the plebiscite.

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