Comelec says no alternative voting for COVID patients
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has declined to allow COVID-19 positive patients to vote online or via text message, its spokesperson James Jimenez said on Friday.
“As to the possibility of alternative means of voting, unfortunately, these are not authorized by law and will not be employed on 9 May 2022,” Jimenez told reporters in a Viber message.
Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire had suggested that people with COVID-19 should vote through alternatives, such as online or via SMS, instead of going to polling places directly.
Jimenez also clarified that the designated areas, known as isolation polling places (IPPs), are not for anyone who has been confirmed COVID-19 positive.
“To be clear, such IPPs are intended to serve persons who present symptoms upon their arrival at the voting center on Election Day,” Jimenez said.
“To reiterate — the IPPs are not intended to be polling places for persons who are confirmed to be COVID positive and are, on Election Day, supposed to be in quarantine,” Jimenez stressed.
“While these persons may indeed turn out to be COVID positive, they will not be turned away automatically just because they are suspected to be potential cases,” he continued.
“Instead, they will be directed to IPPs where they can vote away from the general public, with all the necessary precautions appropriate to their health condition.”
Jimenez also said that COVID-19 positive patients would not be required to leave the isolation facilities.
“We wish to reassure USec Vergeire that the Comelec is fully cognizant of the risks — both to the patient and the public — associated with making a COVID positive person go out to vote.
“This being so, the idea of requiring such persons to leave their isolation facilities was never really on the table,” he added.
“This misapprehension may have simply arisen from statements made by Comelec to the effect that isolation polling places are being prepared,” Jimenez went on.
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