Robredo asks Comelec to allow COVID-19 programs to go on during campaign

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2022 10:41 AM | Updated as of Jan 18 2022 04:07 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo visits the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Swab Cab at the Ynares Center in L. Sumulong Memorial Circle in Antipolo City, Rizal. OVP handout
Vice President Leni Robredo visits the Office of the Vice President (OVP) Swab Cab at the Ynares Center in L. Sumulong Memorial Circle in Antipolo City, Rizal. OVP handout

MANILA (UPDATE)— Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday said she has asked the Commission on Elections to allow her office's initiatives against COVID-19 to continue during the campaign period for the 2022 elections.

Robredo, a presidential candidate, said these programs include the Bayanihan E-Konsulta, which offers online medical consultation, and the Swab Cab, a mobile COVID-19 testing facility. 

"Humingi kami ng exemption from Comelec na ‘yung mga COVID-related na mga ginagawa ng office, payagan kami to continue even after Feb. 8, lalo na kasi surge ngayon," she said, referring to the start of the campaign period. 

(We asked an exemption from Comelec so that the COVID-related measures that the office is doing will be allowed to continue even after Feb. 8, especially now that there is a surge.) 

"Sumulat na kami early this month... Sana ma-grant," Robredo told reporters in a chance interview. 

(We wrote early this month. We hope it will be granted.) 

Robredo earlier said she would refrain from appearing at the projects if they are allowed to continue during the campaign. 

She also noted that the Office of the Vice President and its private partners and volunteers are expected to continue implementing its various projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic even during the campaign period.

She added that some local governments requested the Office of the Vice President to replicate its COVID-19 programs in the provinces. 

"Sinasabi naman namin sa mga, lalo na ‘yung mga LGUs na nakikipag-partner with us, na anytime na kailangan nila ng tulong in whatever form, willing kaming tumulong," the Vice President said. 

"Next week, may plano kami na mag-respond sa iba pang mga requests. Ang iba nito, nasa Mindanao." 

(We tell LGUs, especially those that partner with us, that anytime they need help in whatever form, we are willing to assist. Next week, we have a plan to respond to other requests. Some of these are from Mindanao.)

The Vice President also noted that her office and private partners are already preparing for the the expected surge of COVID-19 in other regions.

“Eto kasi nakita na natin ang pattern na ito with the past surges nauuna sa Metro Manila pero dahil sa mobility ng mga tao, mga umuuwi sa probinsya, parang natural na ang susunod na surge sa mga probinsya kaya nga kami gumagawa na kami ngayon ng initiatives kung paano matutulungan ang mga probinsya na nakakaranas din ng surge," she explained. 

(This has been the pattern from the past surges. Metro Manila will experience it first but because of the people's mobility, it has become natural that provinces would also experience it too. This is why we are doing these initiatives to help those areas also experiencing the surge.) 

Through its private partners and volunteers, the Office of the Vice President continues to provide free services to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 infections.

Daily coronavirus infections have hit records several times this month, driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, prompting a tightening of mobility curbs. On Monday, the Philippines started a ban on unvaccinated people from public transport.

The country has recorded more than 3.24 million cases and nearly 53,000 deaths overall.

It has so far fully inoculated about half of its population, but many areas outside the capital region are lagging behind. 

— With reports from Jamaine Punzalan, Adrian Ayalin, and Reuters

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