June 20, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government said people with Covid-19 symptoms may still cast their votes on May 9.

DILG Usec. and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said a new normal committee was formed by the Commission on Elections  to make sure the May 9 polls will proceed amid the pandemic.

The DILG and the departments of Health, Education, and National Defense signed a resolution to enforce the new normal plan.

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

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

He said the DILG, through the local government units, will put up health stations in the polling centers manned by their health officers.

The DepEd will ensure there are available isolation polling places in the schools and polling centers while the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines personnel will provide security in the polling areas.

Malaya said voters with Covid-19 symptoms like fever will be led to the isolation polling place in the schools or polling places nationwide.

That way, he said those with the symptoms will still be allowed to vote and will not be sent home.

“Suspension of the election is not an option, so to ensure that elections continue even in the face of a pandemic, even if we are under a pandemic, the Commission on Elections has formed a New Normal Committee headed by Commissioner Aimee Neri,” Malaya said.

He said the DILG is all set for the election adding 16,820 PNP personnel were dispatched for election duties with an additional 41,965 more deployed in the 5,531 Comelec-supervised checkpoints.

He added 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 said more police units were dispatched in the 104 municipalities and 14 cities identified as hotspots. 

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia reminded the public the poll body will not require voters to show negative test results before they will be allowed to cast their votes.

He said even individuals confirmed to be positive for Covid-19 will be allowed to cast their votes.

“In fact, even those positive for Covid-19 may also be able to vote,” he said.

Garcia said those who show symptoms will be brought to the isolation polling place that Comelec will set up in every polling precinct.

If they continue to show symptoms, the ballots of concerned voters will be brought to the isolation area, where they will be allowed to cast their votes, he said. – PNA