MANILA – Poll watchdog groups said Friday there is no reason to postpone the conduct of the elections in May 2022.
“We do not see any reason to postpone the 2022 NLE (National and Local Elections). Congressman (Mikey) Arroyo used the low number of registrants to justify his point that voters are afraid because of Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). Covid-19 is not the reason for this low number. Filipinos are just like this, waiting (for) the deadline before taking action. That’s why there are many calls to register now,” Rona Caritos of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections said in a statement.
Caritos said other countries have managed to hold their elections this year despite the pandemic.
“They did not postpone their elections. So no reason for us, especially we have ample time to prepare for our elections if Covid-19 will still be a problem by then,” she added.
Caritos also urged the people not to be swayed by calls to postpone the elections.
Meanwhile, Danilo Arao of Kontradaya also expressed opposition to plans to postpone the 2022 elections.
“We signed a unity statement last September 14, which calls for the holding of the 2022 elections. There is no reason to postpone it as it is mandated by the Constitution,” Arao said.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said they would include health and safety protocols in their preparations for the 2022 polls should Covid-19 remain a threat.
“Let us be very clear about this: the basis of all Comelec planning for 2022 is that pandemic conditions will persist until then – there’s still Covid-19, and we still need to implement precautions so the virus will not spread – whether voters or election workers,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in his Twitter, @jabjimenez.
He is certain that even though people are afraid of the virus, they would come out to register and participate in the May 2022 elections.
“People are afraid of catching Covid-19, yes. Yet they still come to register – and in 2022, they WILL come out to vote. Comelec will be there to help them do it safely. Maybe we shouldn’t be underestimating the courage and democratic spirit of the Filipino. #MagparehistroKa,” Jimenez said. Ferdinand Patinio / PNA – northboundasia.com