Voters with Covid symptoms can still vote in May 9 polls -- DILG exec

Voters with Covid-19 symptoms may still cast their votes in the May 9 polls, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya assured Friday, April 29.

Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya / DILG photo

He stressed that a new normal committee formed by the Commission on Election (Comelec) was created to make sure that the May 9 election will proceed even in the midst of the pandemic.

“Suspension of the election is not an option,’’ Malaya emphasized.

In a news briefing, Malaya explained that voters exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms like fever will be led to the ‘isolation polling place’ in the schools or polling places nationwide.

Further, Malaya clarified that individuals with Covid-19 signs will not be sent home until they have finished voting.

In the polling places nationwide, Malaya noted that there will be a Covid-19 symptom checking process on all the voters with those having signs of the ailment being put in the isolation polling place.

The DILG, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of National Defense (DND) have signed a resolution to enforce the new normal plan.

Under the scheme, Malaya said that the DOH will deploy its personnel where appropriate medicines are made available when the need arises.

He noted that the DILG through the local government units (LGUs) will put up health stations in the polling centers manned by their health officers.

The DepEd will ensure that there are available isolation polling places in the schools and polling centers while the Philippine National Police (PNP) and DND personnel will provide security in the polling areas.

Malaya noted that the DILG is prepared to perform its role in the coming national and local elections.

He said that there would be 16,820 PNP personnel to be dispatched for election duties with an additional 41,965 more to be deployed in the 5,531 Comelec supervised checkpoints.

He added that two mobile force units in every province are on stand-by to ensure the PNP’s capacity to respond to any possible election-related violence.

In the areas of election concern, Malaya pointed out additional police units were dispatched in the 104 municipalities and 14 cities identified as ‘hotspots.’

Malaya maintained that the DILG’s first duty is to maintain peace and security, implement law enforcement and investigate election-related cases with its second task being able to impose the minimum public health standards (MPHS).

The DILG spokesperson added that “the election related checkpoints will also be used to check on MPHS violators and not only gun ban violators.’’

Malaya said that the PNP may check if the passengers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) are wearing face masks since the police need ‘force multipliers’ to help them enforce the MPHS to avoid another Covid-19 upsurge.