Comelec suspends voter registration until March 31 due to COVID-19 threat

Robie de Guzman   •   March 10, 2020   •   843

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has suspended the voter registration until March 31 amid the rising number of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in the country.

In a statement, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez announced that the suspension will begin on Tuesday, March 10.

“As a response to the growing threat to public health posed by COVID-19, voter registration has been suspended by the Comelec until the 31st of March 2020,” he said.

Jimenez said the suspension takes effect nationwide, encompassing voter registration conducted in all Comelec offices in districts, cities, and municipalities, as well as all satellite registration activities.

“The public is advised to take all necessary precautionary measures to limit their exposure to the possibility of COVID-19 infection,” he added.

The poll body opened the voter registration for the 2022 national elections last January. It was initially set to run until September 30, 2021.

As of posting time, the Philippines has 33 confirmed coronavirus cases.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier declared a public health emergency amid the rising cases of COVID-19 infections in the country.

The DOH also raised Code Red Sublevel 1 after confirming the country’s first case of coronavirus local transmission.

Senate panel to conduct hearing on timing of Cha-Cha talks amid coronavirus pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments is set to conduct a hearing this week to discuss the timing of efforts to push for Charter Change anew amid the coronavirus pandemic, panel chairperson Senator Francis Pangilinan said on Monday.

In a statement, Pangilinan said the hearing, which is scheduled on Wednesday, January 27, will consult representatives from sectors affected by the proposed amendments.

Among the resource persons who have confirmed their attendance to the hearing are 1987 Constitution Framers Florangel Rosario Braid, Atty. Christian Monsod, and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide.

Also attending the hearing are Priest Ranhilio Aquino, former Supreme Court Justice Vicente Mendoza, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, and Department of Justice Chief State Counsel George Ortha II.

Pangilinan said the hearing will tackle procedural concerns and “prejudicial questions” that need to be considered relative to the proposed Charter change.

“Una, given Covid and ‘yung ating krisis sa ekonomiya, napapanahon ba mag-Charter Change? Pangalawa, kung napapanahon ang Charter change, ito ba ay dapat con-ass [constitutional assembly] o con-con [constitutional convention]? Tapos pangatlo, kung con-con, e ‘di maliwanag yung eleksyon, kailan?” he said.

“Kung con-ass naman, mayroon pang isang isyu na hanggang ngayon hindi pa nareresolba: Ito ba ay dapat voting jointly ang Senate at House. Ibig sabihin ay 300 plus senators and congressmen sabay boboto ng three-fourths vote? O three-fourths vote separately, ibig sabihin three-fourths vote ang Senate, at three-fourths vote ng House,” he added.

The hearing will discuss Senator Sherwin Gatchalian’s Resolution of Both Houses No. 1, Senators Francis Tolentino and Ronald Dela Rosa’s RBH No. 2, as well as Senator Richard Gordon’s Senate Joint Resolution No. 1.

QC orders stricter measures in quarantine hotels amid reports of COVID-19 UK variant in PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   January 25, 2021

QUEZON, Philippines—The Quezon City government said it will impose stricter measures in quarantine hotels amid reports that the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) UK variant has taken root in several parts of the country.

QC Mayor Joy Belmonte said there is a need to double the city’s efforts in preventing the spread of the new variant. She said there will be stricter protocols in hotels serving as quarantine facilities for returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“Now that the DOH confirmed the presence of the new strain in several places of the country, the more we need to double our efforts in preventing the spread of the virus,” she said.

Belmonte reiterated that returning OFWs should follow government-mandated quarantine period, especially if they came from countries with confirmed reports of the COVID-19 variant.

The Quezon City government will also intensify its inspection of hotels and other establishments to ensure health and safety protocols are followed.

Meanwhile, Belmonte reported that Quezon City currently has zero case of the Covid-19 variant after the city’s first index case already recovered. The male resident was already allowed to go home yesterday afternoon, a day after he tested negative for the virus. AAC

DFA Consular Office in General Santos City closed until Jan. 26

Marje Pelayo   •   January 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informs the public that its Consular Office in General Santos City will be temporarily closed on Monday (January 25).

This is to give way to disinfection activities in its office premises and the implementation of other preventive measures to manage risks against coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The Consular Office will resume its regular operations on Tuesday (January 26).

Affected applicants with confirmed appointments who are unable to avail of consular services due to the suspension of operations must secure another appointment by emailing gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph with the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of Birth
  • Original appointment date and time
  • Preferred date and time of new appointment

The preferred new appointment may be on any working day from Monday to Friday from January 26 to February 26 during the CO’s regular operation hours 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Applicants that need emergency or urgent Consular services may contact CO General Santos by email at gensan.rco@dfa.gov.ph.

The DFA requests the public’s understanding and cooperation as we continue to battle against this pandemic.

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