The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now focused on preparing for the 2022 general elections following the plebiscite on the division of Palawan, which, according to a commission official served as a “laboratory” on how to conduct the upcoming elections amid the ongoing pandemic.
According to Comelec Commissioner Antonio Kho Jr., who served as commissioner-in-charge in the Palawan division plebiscite, he was assigned to chair the “new normal committee” for next year’s national elections.
“Ano’ng ibig sabihin no’n? ‘Yong new normal committee will be the committee that will form the guidelines on how to conduct the 2022 election under the pandemic situation,” Kho explained this Tuesday in an interview with ABS-CBN News.
The Comelec considers it a success to hold a plebiscite in Palawan, which voted on whether to divide the province into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur.
It has implemented health protocols in polling precincts such as plastic sheets between voting booths and “isolation polling places” for voters who were caught at a temperature of 37.5 degrees Celsius.
Comelec focuses on 2022 elections following Palawan plebiscite
“Itong Palawan na plebisito na ito will be considered as our laboratory on how elections should be held under a pandemic situation so definitely mga ginawa natin dito will have an impact doon sa policies na gagawin natin sa 2022,” said Kho.
“Probably ‘yong policies na ginawa natin dito for Palawan plebiscite also convinced people to vote so probably, it gave them confidence na ‘pag pumunta sila sa presinto, safe naman sila,” he said.
The provincial government spent about P150 million for the plebiscite, also based on the budget set by the Comelec, according to Kho.
“It may appear to be large but I understand this is a worthy experiment kasi nakita natin ang sentimyento ng tao, an exercise of democracy is an expensive one,” said Kho.
So far, votes have been canvassed from 18 of Palawan‘s 23 towns, with “no” votes still leading with 158,501 compared to “yes” with 116,436.