The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the request of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to hold a nationwide mock election on December 29, Malacañang said on Friday.
Meanwhile, preventing crowds and mass gatherings during caravans of aspirants seeking office in the 2022 national elections amid a COVID-19 pandemic is a responsibility for all, acting presidential spokesperson Karlo Nograles said.
Nograles said this in a Palace press briefing after being asked if penalties or sanctions were needed on candidates, given that caravans draw crowds that put people at risk of getting infected with COVID-19.
Also the Cabinet Secretary, Nograles said the mock polls would help in the preparations for the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.
“In order to ensure the safe and effective conduct of the 2022 National and Local Elections, the IATF poses no objection to the request of the Commission on Elections to conduct nationwide mock election exercises on December 29, 2021,” he said.
Teofisto Elnas Jr., Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations, earlier said there would be an end-to-end demonstration of the whole process.
“We will test on how accurate, true, and secure the (voting) process is,” Elnas said.
In the National Capital Region, Pasay City’s barangays 70 (1st District) and 110 (2nd District); Taguig City’s Ususan (1st District) and Western Bicutan (2nd District); and Pateros’ San Pedro and San Roque villages.
In Luzon, the mock polls will be held in Isabela: barangays District 1 (Pob) and Minante 1 in Cauayan City and barangays Magsaysay and Gayong in Cordon; in Albay: Barangay 16 of Kawit East, Barangay 13 of Ilawod West (Barangay 13), and barangays Biodoran, Banawan and Caratagan in Legazpi City.
In the Visayas, Negros Oriental: barangays Taclobo and Balogo of Dumaguete City, and barangays Poblacion and Mayabon in Zamboanguita; Leyte: barangays 6 and 6-A in Tacloban, barangays Poblacion Zone 11 and Gaas in Baybay City, and barangays Ipil II and San Juan in Palompon.
In Mindanao, Maguindanao: barangays Rosary Heights 2 and Tamontaka I in Cotabato City, Mother Poblacion and Poblacion 1 in Shariff Aguak, and Poblacion and Dical in Buluan; and Davao del Sur: barangays Zone 3 and San Miguel in Digos City, and Poblacion and Talas in Sulop.
Elnas said the results would be counted, transmitted, and received in different destinations.
“This is where we would be able to test our VCMs (vote-counting machines), from the start, opening until voting, consolidation of results, then printing of election returns, and also the printing of the voting receipts,” he said in a previous interview.
On caravans, Nograles said: In our fight against COVID-19, we need to help each other. To those who participate in caravans, wear a face mask, observe proper sanitation and social distancing, make sure you are fully vaccinated. We really need the support and cooperation of everybody.”
“On part of local government units, the local chief executives, they know how challenging it is to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases. Let us not waste our accomplishments and make sure that guidelines are in place,” Nograles added.
He assured the public that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is on top of the situation.
“It is a shared responsibility. We all have a role to play,” Nograles added.
The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. earlier apologized to the public, especially motorists and traffic enforcers, who were affected by the caravan held in Quezon City on Wednesday morning.
The Quezon City Police District estimated the crowd in the area to have reached about 6,000.