How to campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Go online, says Comelec

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 02 2021 10:36 AM

How to campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Go online, says Comelec 1
People line up at the Commission on Elections in Pasay City on the first day of voter’s registration, Sept. 1, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The Commission on Elections is waging a war on two fronts in the runup to the 2022 elections: stop the spread of the novel coronavirus during the campaign as well as misinformation on social media. 

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said candidates in the 2022 polls may need to to focus heavily on online campaigning instead of doing campaign rallies or going house-to-house amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are particularly concerned about face-to-face encounters between campaigners and the public [because] that's where your spread is gonna happen," Jimenez told ANC.

"It won't matter how COVID-safe the actual election day is if campaign pa lang people are already spreading the virus through careless and irresponsible act."
 
Comelec also plans to collaborate with various social media platforms to combat the persistent spread of misinformation online.

"Certainly, we will be reaching out to the social media platforms to find proactive means of controlling the spread of false information and perhaps, hopefully, bringing accountability to the table as well for the people who propagate false information," Jimenez said.

The poll body bared that some 1.3 million of 4 million eligible new voters have registered so far for the May 2022 elections.

"As of yesterday, I believe we were about 1.3 million registered voters already. That's 1.3 million applications. So, we still have quite a way to go," Jimenez said.

Voter registration started on Jan. 20, 2020 but was suspended for 5 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll body resumed operations on Sept. 1, 2020 and has only 8 months left to register new voters.
 
Comelec is mulling extending registration hours and increasing satellite registration centers nationwide.

"The Comelec is looking towards making that Monday to Friday or perhaps even adding a weekend registration. This will help reach out to people who probably might not be able to register because of work obligations," Jimenez said.

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