‘Measures vs. Covid-19, new Comelec appointees will impact confidence in polls’


GOVERNMENT measures against Covid-19 and the appointment of new credible executives Commission on Elections will have a significant impact on public trust in the outcome of the 2022 polls, according to experts.

Ateneo de Manila University-School of Government (ASOG) Dean Ronald Mendoza said the initiatives by government agencies to keep infections at bay will be the deciding factor for many people on whether or not to participate in the 2022 polls.

“It is important to build confidence that we strengthen our pandemic response in anticipation of the May 22 elections in order to prevent a scenario where we might have a surge during the election period itself,” Mendoza said  during an online forum of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) on Monday.

Lagging behind

Currently, he said the government’s interventions against Covid-19 such as having sufficient available health-care facilities as well as testing, tracing and treating the infected, are lagging behind compared to other countries.

He also singled out the pace of the vaccination drive of the government, which he deems still too slow to make an impact come May 9, 2022.

Given the current average daily number of Covid-19 vaccine shots administered by the government is limited only to 487,000, he said it will take 205 days or at least until May 17, 2022 to reach the 70-percent vaccination rate target nationwide.

Mendoza said authorities must ramp up their inoculation drive to prevent possible mass disenfranchisement of voters, who may feel unsafe due to mass infections, come election day.

New poll execs

For his part, former Comelec chairman Christian Monsod said the four new Comelec commissioners to be appointed by President Duterte by next year should go through public scrutiny.

“There should be a public vetting of the appointment for new commissioners by February 2022 which can be a game changer on the conduct of election,” Monsod said.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas, as well as Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Antonio Kho are set to retire on February 2, 2022.

There is also an existing vacancy in the Comelec en banc.

Monsod said the public must ensure that the new appointees will be impartial in their decision-making once they become part of the 7-man Comelec en banc.

“There are four vacancies. There is one existing vacancy and three who will step down in February, That’s a lot. That’s a majority from the seven, right, so that’s why it’s very important,” Monsod said.

Image courtesy of Roy Domingo

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