COVID-19, no matter how widespread and dangerous, will not stop the Commission on Elections from conducting the 2022 national elections which will involve an estimated 63 million Filipino voters.
Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas assured members of the House Committee on Appropriations that health and safety measures are currently being studied, including the holding of extended voting period from only one day to two or more.
During the budget hearing, poll officials said they are also closely observing the conduct of national elections in countries that have scheduled polls despite the threat of COVID-19.
”Kinukuha natin ang best practices sa South Korea, hopefully makakuha rin sa US (We are trying to pick up best practices in South Korea and hopefully, we can do the same in the US),” said Abas.
South Korea’s 21st legislative elections were held last April 21 while the Americans will be voting for their next president and vice president on Nov. 2.
The Comelec is asking the allocation of P10.04 billion to prepare for the 2022 elections that will open for votation a total 18,084 seats, including those of the next president and the vice president.
Responding to a query from Reps. David Suarez (NPC, Quezon); Law Fortun (NP, Agusan del Norte), and Juan Miguel Arroyo (Lakas-CMD, Pampanga), Abas said there is no stopping them from preparing for the elections.
“Alam po natin na this is a constitutional mandate (We all know that this is a constitutional mandate),” said Abas when asked about the possibility of postponing the May 9, 2022 polls should the COVID-19 situation turn for the worse.
However, the Comelec chief said Congress and the president have the power to cancel the national elections.
Abas said the poll body has created a special committee to study and propose plans that will be implemented if COVID-19 persists in 2022.