Palace confident no more lockdowns in 2022 elections
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang on Tuesday said it is confident there would no longer be areas under granular lockdowns during the conduct of the national elections in May next year as the government continues to vaccinate against COVID-19.
The government is aiming to achieve population protection at least in Metro Manila and eight other areas by the end of the year.
Population protection refers to the vaccination of the vulnerable sectors such as healthcare workers, the senior citizens, and also those with comorbidities to reduce hospitalization and deaths.
“Kampante ako na habang dumadami ang ating mga nababakunahan, ‘pag nagkaroon na tayo ng population protection or containment tingin ko makakapagbalik buhay tayo lahat,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.
(I am confident that we can resume to our normal lives when we achieve population protection or containment.)
He issued the remark in response to fears that granular lockdowns may be used to prevent people from voting or to force a failure of elections.
However, Roque said that should there be lockdowns still during the 2022 elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could reset the voting of areas placed under lockdown.
“Kung sila ay naka-lockdown ire-reset lang ng Comelec ang petsa ng botohan kung mayroon pang mga areas under lockdown pagdating ng 2022,” he said.
(The Comelec could reset the date of the voting if there are still areas under lockdown.)
Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier said that the newly implemented granular lockdowns should not be used as an excuse to prevent people from voting, or force the suspension of the elections.
Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal also said only the Comelec can stop the conduct of polls even if under a pandemic.
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