Preparation for plebiscite to divide Palawan into 3 provinces ready: Comelec

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is in full swing for the upcoming plebiscite to divide Palawan into three provinces.

“Simula sa Peb. 15, ang registration sa probinsiya ng Palawan ay suspendido muna para ang ating mga taga Comelec sa Palawan ay makakapag-concentrate sa paghahanda nitong nalalapit na plebesito,” according to Teopisto Elnas Jr., deputy executive director for operations of the Comelec.

According to Elnas, the plebiscite will continue on March 13.

“Naipasa yung batas na nagtatakada na magkakaroon ng plesbisto sa Palawan, na ang probinsiya ng Palawan hahatian sa tatlo—Palawan del Norte, Palawan del Sur, and Palawan Oriental. Ang exception lang dito, ang hindi kasama is Puerto Princesa City,” Elnas said in an interview with TeleRadyo this Friday.

It will be recalled that President Rodrigo approved in April 2019 to divide the island into three provinces.

“Actually, last year pa sana ito. Unfortunately, nagka COVID, nagka lockdown so the opted to postpone it and reset it,” said Elnas.

According to Elnas, voters would only answer “yes” or “no” if they are in favor of dividing Palawan into three provinces.

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Preparation for plebiscite to divide Palawan into 3 provinces ready: Comelec

“Kailangang registered voter tayo bago tayo makapag-participate sa plebesitong ito. Yun lang mga botante noong October 2019 registration board hearing ang pwedeng lumahok at makaboto sa plebesitong ito,” he said.

Those who registered after Oct. 2019 is not included in the plebiscite voter list.

“Na-finalize na ang mga listahan natin so yung mga bagong nagparehistro, kasi ongoing ang registration natin, ‘di na sila kasama,” he clarified.

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 13.

He said it would be a big challenge for the Comelec to hold a plebiscite amid the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

“Isa ito sa mga challenges natin. Unlike sa previous political exercises natin na talagang focus lang tayo sa procedure kung anong nasa batas, anong rules….dito ngayon, ang paghahanda natin pina-factor in natin yung minimum health standards and protocols,” he said.