If we can open Manila Bay amid pandemic, we can also hold 2022 elections — Robredo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 27) — Vice President Leni Robredo said on Sunday that there is no reason to postpone the 2022 elections amid the pandemic, contrary to the recent recommendation of a congressman to do so.

"Kung kayang buksan ang Manila Bay...bubuksan yung ibang tourism sites, walang dahilan para i-postpone," Robredo said in her weekly radio show Biserbisyong Leni, a week after authorities drew flak for opening Manila Bay's "white sand beach" to a large crowd.

[Translation: If we can open Manila Bay, if we can open Boracay and other tourism sites, we have no reason to postpone it.]

Robredo cited countries such as the United States, New Zealand, South Korea and Netherlands that are pushing through with their own national elections this year despite coronavirus threats in their respective territories.

"Nagsalita na yung Comelec (Commission on Elections dito na hindi ipo-postpone. Yung pinaghahandan nilang scenario may COVID pa din," she added.

[Translation: The Comelec already said that they will not postpone it. They are preparing for a scenario with COVID.]

Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas said during the budget hearing of the poll body in the House of Representatives last Thursday that regardless of how the health crisis will pan out, they will strive to push through with a safer conduct of elections.

Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo initially asked the Comelec if they have considered postponing the elections, saying voters might risk contamination in polling precincts.

Abas emphasized that they have not considered this since the election is a constitutional mandate.

The agency insisted that they are prepared to conduct alternative measures such as a two-day voting period and an online filing of candidacy to reduce transmission.