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Palace on 2022 face-to-face campaign:  Wait for Covid vaccination outcome

Palace on 2022 face-to-face campaign:  Wait for Covid vaccination outcome

MANILA, Philippines — It is still too early to decide whether to ban face-to-face campaigning for the 2022 national elections as the country is yet to start its vaccination program against Covid-19, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the government should wait what will happen to the country’s vaccination program before deciding on whether to ban or allow face-to-face elections campaign.

The concern regarding the candidates’ campaigning will also be eventually discussed with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, he said.

“I think it’s too early [to say] because we are about to start our inoculation campaign pero [but] I’m sure the issue will be discussed beyond Comelec [Commission on Elections] and will include also IATF,” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

“Let’s wait what will happen to our vaccination campaign dahil mayroon pa naman tayong panahon [because we still have time],” he added.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez earlier said a “change in the campaigning landscape” could be expected, considering the Covid-19 pandemic, up to the extent that f”

The Comelec still has to coordinate with the IATF on the matter.

Comelec commissioner Rowena Guanzon, meanwhile, said face-to-face campaign activities for the upcoming 2022 elections but with strict physical distancing and observance of other health protocols.

Several officials have decried the proposal to ban face-to-face campaigning.

Senator Francis Pangilinan said banning face-to-face campaign activities would be “too restrictive,” especially considering that not all can be reached in online platforms due to access in good internet connection.

“I think that’s too restrictive. Perhaps they can prohibit itong large gatherings….Hindi naman ‘di mo pupwedeng harapin yung taumbayan sa kampanya. Paano mo ipapaliwanag [yung plataporma mo]?” Pangilinan said in an online media forum.

(I think that’s too restrictive. Perhaps they can prohibit large gatherings…But candidates should not be prevented from facing the public during their campaign. How can they explain their platform?)

Party-list group Bayan Muna argued that may only serve the interests of rich candidates and eventually disenfranchise poor contenders.

While Roque recognizes the need to utilize all forms of campaigning so that the public may be able to get to know their candidates, the pandemic cannot be discounted.

“Sa demokrasya, kinakailangan makilala ng mga taong bayan ang kanilang mga kandidato so lahat ng form ng campaigning would be prefered, kaya lang may pandemya nga at ‘yan ay katotohanan,” he said.

(In a democracy, it is important that the public get to know their candidates so all forms of campaigning would be preferred, but there is still the problem of the pandemic.)

“So tingnan muna natin kung maiibsan natin yung ating problema sa pamamagitan ng bakuna,” he added.

(So let’s see first if we can mitigate the health risks of the pandemic through the vaccines.)

The filing of certificates of candidacy for the 2022 national polls is set to begin in October this year, then the start of campaign period will be on January 9, 2022.

The national government, which is aiming to immunize at least 70 million of the population, is set to start its vaccine roll out in February.

JPV

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