OCD, NDRRMC to be on red alert status for 'Covid-proof' elections

Published May 6, 2022, 3:14 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) will be placed on “red alert” status on Monday, May 9, to ensure that the upcoming national and local elections will be free from the threat of Covid-19.

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad (middle) holds a meeting with members of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council at the NDRRMC Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. (Courtesy of NDRRMC)

Undersecretary Ricardo Jalad, OCD administrator and NDRRMC executive director, said the move will be in accordance with a directive for the said initiative which was released by the National Task Force Against Covid-19 last May 2.

NTF Memorandum No. 6 series of 2022 states that the OCD, all regional task forces (RTFs), and regional disaster risk reduction and management councils (RDRRMCs) shall “coordinate and mobilize member agencies to adhere to the requirements and needs set by the Comelec [Commission on Elections]” in “COVID-proofing” the upcoming polls.

Jalad said that the OCD, as the head of the Task Group Resource and Management and Logistics, was also tasked to facilitate and coordinate the provision of medical supplies and other logistical requirements for Covid-19 operations as may be needed for the upcoming election.

Meanwhiel, Asst. Secretary Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV, OCD’s deputy administrator for operations, echoed the NTF’s call for vigilance against COVID-19 as 67 million voters are exected to troop to various polling precincts nationwide on May 9.

“Despite these circumstances, we urge our countrymen to keep the ‘Bayanihan Spirit’ alive to ensure a safe and healthy national and local elections,” he said.

Jalad said that the elections this May 9 will be “a historic event for the Philippines” as the it will be conducted amid the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously, Comelec officials met with the NTF and OCD at the NDRRM Operations Center in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City to discuss means to protect voters against Covid-19 and allow voters with symptoms to cast votes during election day in a special voting room that will be established in the polling precincts.