The Davao City COVID-19 Task Force reminded Dabawenyos to go to their polling precincts early and adhere to the minimum public health standards (MPHS) during voting in the local and national elections on Monday, May 9, 2022.

The wearing of face masks, observance of social distancing, and frequent hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol are mandated MPHS for the election day.

Dr. Michelle Schlosser, the spokesperson of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, bared this during the 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) program aired on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Polling precincts will open from  6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on May 9.

But she maintained, “As to rules for voters, they are mandated to wear face masks at all times, maski gapila, ga fill-up. Have also a safe distancing of one meter apart (Voters are mandated to wear face masks at all times, whether they are queueing or filling out the ballots. Observe physical distancing of one meter away from each other). Disinfect hands at all times.”

Although Executive Order (EO) No. 11, Series of 2022, has removed the mandatory social distancing in Davao City, Dr. Schlosser said Dabawenyos have to practice it on May 9 within the premises of voting centers and polling precincts.

She said, “For this event, kinahanglan ang social distancing to ensure that there is no possibility of high risk of transmission (social distancing is needed to prevent high risk of transmission).”

Personnel from the Response Cluster of the Davao City COVID-19 Task Force, Commission on Elections (Comelec), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and other government agencies will help ensure that the MPHS are strictly followed.

Confirmed COVID-19 positive patients, however, are prohibited from leaving their isolation facilities or hospitals to cast their votes. Davao City currently has 24 COVID-19 positive cases. “We really can’t compromise. I also don’t think nga kaning mga infected individuals kay fit mupila kay lain man ilang paminaw (I also don’t think these infected individuals are fit to queue as they are not feeling well),” the city health official added.

She also reminded Dabawenyos to vote early, saying, “Mas maayo early mo para dili magdasok, so you would know your status, makit-an gihapon. There’s a possibility nga wala pa kaayo’y crowd, basin diay duna’y infected pud. Aside from observing the MPHS, mas maayo nga early mo. Bring ballpen. Ayaw na og chika-chika ngadto og di ninyo kaila. Quick voting lang, paghuman og butar, hawa dayon to avoid the crowd (It’s better to come early to avoid the crowd, so you would know your status and find your precinct easily. By coming early, there’s a possibility that no crowd has gathered yet, as someone might have been infected with COVID-19 and will be among them. Aside from observing the MPHS, coming early would be better for you. Bring ballpen. Don’t chat with strangers. Just do a quick voting, leave immediately after casting your vote to avoid the crowd).”

As thermal scanning will be done at the entrance of voting centers in schools, those with a temperature of 37.5 and above will be ushered by medical personnel to the isolation polling precinct where they can vote.

Dr. Schlosser said that those with influenza-like illnesses (ILI) can still vote, but they will have to bring them to a polling precinct designated for them. After voting, they can leave the isolation poll precinct.

The Comelec also reminded Dabawenyos that wearing of any merchandize with the name or photo of their favored candidates and bringing campaign materials are not allowed during election day.

Voters may bring a list of the candidates they will vote for to avoid accidental markings on the ballots, which could affect the reading by vote-counting machines or (VCMs). CIO