COVID-19 won’t stop Palawan plebiscite, says Comelec

Rambo Talabong

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FOR VOTING. The Palawan plebiscite is scheduled on March 13, 2021.

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'Tuloy na tuloy na po ito,' says Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas on the March 13 Palawan plebiscite

Even if there is an increase in COVID-19 cases in Palawan, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will still push through with the long-awaited plebiscite on the law that divides the province into three.

Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas said this in an online press briefing on Thursday, February 11, when asked if there’s a possibility that the plebiscite would be postponed if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the province.

“This (the law) has long been signed by the President back before the pandemic…. Sa ngayon, tuloy na tuloy na po ito. Kahit dadami siya nang bahagya, tuloy na tuloy na po (As of how, this will really push through. Even if there is a slight increase in cases, this will really push through),” Abas said.

Republic Act No. 11259, signed on April 5, 2019, divides Palawan into Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental, and Palawan del Sur, with the latter as the mother province.

The new provinces will be created upon approval of a majority Palawan voters in a plebiscite. The vote was first scheduled in May 2020, but the pandemic pushed it to March 13, 2021.

Abas said that local health officials do not project any spike in cases as the entire province only has 7 active cases as of Wednesday, February 10.

He also assured voters that the Comelec will enforce measures that will prevent the spread of the virus like requiring physical distancing and wearing of face masks. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.