MANILA, Philippines — House Deputy Majority Leader and Pampanga 2nd Dist. Rep. Mikey Arroyo on Thursday floated the thought of postponing the 2022 national elections because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During House deliberations on the proposed 2021 budget of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Thursday, Arroyo, son of former president and speaker Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo, asked the poll body if it has a “plan B” for the forthcoming presidential elections if the health crisis persists even by 2022.
He said that the earliest time a vaccine for COVID-19 may become available to the public might be September or October 2021, which is already the period for the filing for candidacy.
“I’ve been doing my share of reading about this pandemic and it seems that, assuming for the sake of argument that nothing goes wrong, the earliest that the vaccine will be available in our country for everybody, maybe September or October next year,” Arroyo said.
“The thought that we will postpone the elections, has that ever triggered in your mind?” he asked Comelec.
“Hindi po talaga. Because alam naman natin that this is a constitutional mandate at fixed yung nilagay,” replied Comelec Sheriff Abas, adding that the poll body has, in fact, already been planning about health and safety protocols for the 2022 elections.
(No we have not considered it. Because we know this is a constitutional mandate and it is fixed.)
Among the safety protocols that the Comelec is eyeing is conducting the 2022 elections for two days.
“Insofar as Election Day, we’re looking at the idea of holding the elections not just in one day but for two days para ma-regulate natin ‘yung mga boboto,” Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz said.
“Some precincts will vote on the first day, some precincts will vote on the second day,” he added.
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