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Cancellation of Eleksyon 2022 due to COVID-19 surge “unlikely,” says Comelec spox

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday said it is “unlikely” to cancel the 2022 national and local elections due to a COVID-19 surge.

“It’s unlikely that we will not hold elections, certainly not on a national scale. Remember, you’re also talking about a nationwide that’s synchronized across the entire nation,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in a briefing Monday amid reports of new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

He, however, said there is a possibility that the elections will be postponed in certain areas.

“What may be possible is that if, let’s say, just the possibility ‘no, in one location, lahat ng (all of the) [Board of Election Inspector] tinamaan ng (contracted) COVID, wala kang ma-replace then posible kang mag-cancel ng elections, pero doon lang (you can’t filed a replacement, then it is possible to cancel the elections but in that particular area only), right?” he said.

“Area cancellations are still possible, isolated cases can be taken into consideration, but 'yung (the) nationwide cancellation, unlikely,” the poll body's spokesperson said.

Under the law, Jimenez explained that if a condition for free and fair elections doesn’t exist, you can delay it for a reasonable period of time, normally, within 30 days from the cessation of the problem.

“Kunwari nagkabaha, nagkaroon ng postponement ng elections, within 30 days after nawala 'yung baha, puwede ka na dapat magsagawa ng halalan. Something along those lines can be the actual scenario that we'll be facing,” he explained

(For example, there is extreme flooding in an area and there was a postponement of the elections, within 30 days after the flood has receded, you can conduct the polls. Something along those lines can be the actual scenario that we’ll be facing.)

“If there is an outbreak of such magnitude that the Comelec decides it will be necessary to postpone the elections, then yes, you can postpone the election and remember you have within 30 days to resolve that problem,” he said.

Currently, Jimenez said they are already coordinating with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to prepare for possible scenarios ahead of Eleksyon 2022.

The national and local elections will be held on May 9, 2022.

The campaign period for candidates running for national post starts on February 9, 2022. The campaign period for local candidates, on the other hand, starts a month later on March 9, 2022.—AOL, GMA News