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Israeli expert says safe Eleksyon 2022 possible amid COVID-19 pandemic

Holding elections safely amid the COVID-19 pandemic is possible, an Israeli expert said Friday.

Chalm Markos Rafalowski, Disaster Management Coordinator of Magen David Adom, made the remark when asked for tips how the Philippines can conduct Eleksyon 2022 amid the pandemic.

Magen David Adom is Israel’s National Emergency Pre-Hospital, Medical and Blood Services Organization.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has said that 46% of Filipinos were not cast their votes in Eleksyon 2022 if the number of COVID-19 cases remained high. This was according to a commissioned Pulse Asia poll.

“In Israel, we held elections twice amid the pandemic in March 2020 and only three months ago," Rafalowski said in a forum organized by Presidential Communications and Operations Office.

"We have plenty of experience in putting guidelines on political rallies and setting up a system to allow people to exercise their democratic right to vote while being able to maintain restrictions,” he added.

Rafalowski cited the deployment of voting booths in hospitals and having a voting system in place for those under home quarantine.

“I am very proud to say that we did not see increase in new cases due to the holding of elections as citizens participated in the democratic process, and the Israel Embassy in Manila will be more than happy to share the tools we used,” Rafalowski  said.

Health Francisco Duque III, for his part, assured the public that the DOH would work with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to come up with ways to ensure the safe conduct of May 2022 Presidential polls.

“I don’t have crystal ball to tell you how the COVID-19 situation will be on election year, but we will do our best to mitigate the impact of the pandemic,” Duque said.

“Definitely, we will meet with Comelec, as directed by President Rodrigo Duterte, to come up with protocols for the conduct of election and the campaign; making sure we the steps are preventive [of virus transmission],” he added.

The next national elections is scheduled in May 9, 2022. —NB, GMA News