Neither calamities nor the Covid-19 pandemic can halt the conduct of the upcoming May 2022 elections, an official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) declared on Saturday, April 23.
Comelec Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia said the poll body will ensure that all registered Filipino voters will be able to exercise their right to suffrage come May 9.
“Pinapangako po ng Commission on Elections na sisiguraduhin na wala tayong iiwanan na kahit isa na kababayan natin na hindi makakaboto. Ano man ang kalagayan nila kahit sila ay nasa isang lugar na calamity hit, kahit pa sa sinasabi na mataas ang Covid-19, pipilitin natin na lahat sila ay makaboto (The Commission on Elections vows to ensure that all our kababayans will be able to cast their votes. Whatever their situation is, even if they are in a calamity hit area, even if they have a high number of Covid-19 cases, we will make sure that they will all be able to vote),” he said during an ambush interview in Basilan.
“Tuloy-tuloy po ang eleksyon, wala po kaming dine-declare na postponement ng eleksyon. Wala rin kaming dine-declare na baka sakaling magkaroon ng failure of election (The elections will push through, we are not declaring any postponement of polls. We also did not declare that there is a possibility of failure of elections),” the poll commissioner stressed.
According to him, Comelec has recently set up makeshift polling precincts in areas that have been recently ravaged by a tropical storm, such as Surigao and Dinagat, among others.
“Mayroon kaming tulad sa Surigao at Dinagat nagtayo ang ating mga local Comelec doon para sa mga makeshift na gagamitin pansamantala para makaboto ang mga kababayan natin (We have cases such as in Surigao and Dinagat where our local Comelec set up makeshift polling precincts that will be temporarily used by our kababayans to cast their vote),” said Garcia.
While the poll body acknowledges the vital role of the Department of Health (DOH) amid the pandemic, Garcia said the Comelec is willing to listen to the health department and other agencies, but noted that the poll body still has the final say about the conduct of the polls.
“So in the final analysis, we may listen to the different departments of government but we will have the final say as to the conduct of this election.”
Recently, Tropical Storm Agaton has devastated many areas in Regions 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, and 13.