The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said on Friday, Sept. 17, that the isolation polling places (IPPs) being prepared are only for voters who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 upon their arrival in the polling centers and not for those who are already confirmed positive for the said illness.
“To be clear, such IPPs are intended to serve persons who present symptoms upon their arrival at voting center on Election Day. While these persons may indeed turnout to be COVID positive, they will not be turned away automatically just because they are suspected to be potential cases,” said Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez on Friday, Sept. 17.
“Instead, they will be directed to IPPs where they can vote away from the general public, with all the necessary precautions appropriate to their health condition,” he added.
Jimenez said that IPPs are not for COVID-19 positive patients.
“The IPPs are not intended to be polling places for persons who are confirmed to be COVID positive and are, on Election Day, supposed to be in quarantine,” he added.
“The idea of requiring such persons to leave their isolation facilities was never really on the table,” he added.
Department of Health (DOH) Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire urged the Comelec on Friday to find ways on how COVID-19 positive patients can still be able to exercise their right to vote on election day. Vergeire made a suggestion to conduct virtual voting for COVID-19 patients.
Jimenez assured the DOH that they are currently discussing this matter.
“The Comelec welcomes USec Vergeire’s statement regarding the possibility of voting by COVID positive voters. We wish to reassure USec Vergeire that the Comelec is fully cognizant of the risks - both to the patient and the public - associated with making a COVID positive person go out to vote,” he added.
“As to the possibility of alternative means of voting, unfortunately these are not authorized by law and will not be employed on May 9, 2022,” he added.