Academic institutions, youth groups call for 'COVID-19' safe elections

Published May 11, 2021, 11:02 AM

by Gabriela Baron

Over 2,000 academic institutions and youth groups called on the national government to ensure a coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-free, safe, fair, and free 2022 national elections for all Filipino voters.

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a unity statement released by the Ateneo School of Government on Monday, May 10, the groups fear that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) efforts of the national government may not be enough to address the country’s health crisis as it continues to pose a threat to public activities including the upcoming elections.

READ MORE: Student leader underscores youth’s role in 2022 elections

Citing the success of the recently concluded Palawan plebiscite and elections from several countries held during the pandemic, the groups said it is possible to hold democratic processes successfully during the global health crisis.

“Stricter measures should be implemented from the start of the election period to voting day. The Philippines can learn from the best practices of countries that successfully held their elections amidst the pandemic such as Indonesia, Singapore, and the United States.

The groups also stressed the need to allocate an additional billion so the Comelec can implement measures that will protect citizens and create a safe, secure, and credible election.

The groups likewise appealed to protect voters from COVID-19, politicking, vote-buying, and to make vaccines “fairly available to all.”

“To instill confidence among voters, there is a need to establish an atmosphere of safety and trust in health protocols. It is critical to provide accessible and reliable information on the safety measures done to prepare for election day, and to form effective campaigns against disinformation and misinformation that may cause concern among the voters.”

READ MORE: Student leaders encourage youth voters to register

As of April 21, only 1,588,432 first-time voters have registered, still short of the 4-million voters goal set by the Commission on Elections for the end of the registration period on Sept. 30, 2021.

Seven million voter accounts had been deactivated due to non-participation and only 700,000 of these have been recently reactivated.

 
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