May 27, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government-Cordillera has directed local government units to ensure a Covid-19-proof and safe elections in their area of jurisdiction due to possible surge of cases.

“The DILG, the departments of Health, Education, and National Defense signed a resolution to implement the new normal plan for the 2022 national and local elections to ensure its conduct is Covid-19-proof and medical assistance is provided to voters and persons rendering election-related services when the need arises,” said DILG-Cordillera Director Araceli San Jose.

She said provincial, city, and municipal governments, in collaboration with the Commission on Elections field offices, should establish medical help desks in all polling centers, complete with all necessary resources, essential medicines, an adequate number of personnel, communication, and transportation facilities.

“The medical help desk must be set up before the start of voting hours and must remain open until the polls close. It should also provide support to the operation of isolation polling places (IPP) to be established by the Comelec to accommodate voters with symptoms without being sent home,” San Jose said.

 “Those who will show symptoms will be brought to the IPP that Comelec will set up in every polling precinct,” she said.

She also reminded the LGUs to ensure the readiness of their respective barangay health emergency response teams, and LGU-run hospitals and health centers to carry out necessary Covid-19 response protocols in the event of an emergency.

“To the greatest extent possible, these facilities should provide free treatment and hospitalization to voters and persons performing election-related services who suffer any serious illness or injury,” she said.

San Jose reminded LGUs not to use these services and/or the facilities that will be set up including the medical help desk as a vehicle for political propaganda or promotion of any person’s candidacy.

“Any LGU official in violation of this prohibition will be referred to the Comelec for appropriate action,” she said.

San Jose also urged authorities to continue enforcing and the public to continue adhering to minimum public health standards.

“We urge our LGUs to ensure the consistent implementation of MPHS and the continued strict implementation of the Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, Reintegrate + Vaccinate strategy,” she said. – Pamela Geminiano