Cops told to ensure health protocols at voter registration in malls
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police directed its units in Metro Manila and other parts of the country to ensure that minimum health standards are observed by Filipinos trooping to the malls for the final leg of voter registration this month.
In a statement sent to media, Police Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, PNP chief, said that police commander must ensure that the voter registration process in these areas should not become super spreader events.
As it currently stands, though, the Commission on Elections has announced that it will only be opening "limited number of slots in consideration of mall hours and strict adherence to health protocols."
Ayala Malls management has also said on its official page that it will only be opening up some 200 to 500 slots per day at its satellite voter registration sites.
“All our police personnel [has] been tasked to secure these malls and to ensure that minimum public health safety standards and quarantine protocols are observed for the voter registration,” Eleazar said.
"Satellite voter registration in malls may be flooded especially in the last days of this month so we must be prepared for this because we are still in the middle of a pandemic where more precautions are still needed," he added.
To recall, the Commission on Elections in partnership with Robinsons Malls, Ayala Malls, and SM Supermalls announced it would accommodate more voter applicants for the 2022 national and local elections nationwide.
The commission has said that it will stick with its set deadline for voter registration on September 30.
The National Capital Region Police Office on Saturday also deployed some 350 officers at select malls to ensure the observance of health protocols in satellite registration sites.
“Malls are places where people congregate and I think it’s very important that we tap into that energy. People are here and people want to register, it’s a perfect match,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez is quoted in reports as saying in a press conference earlier this weekend.
“Malls are ideal places for voter registration because they are spacious, there’s a wide area available for voter registration and wide area make it easier to maintain social distancing,” he added.
Eleazar tasked chiefs of police to coordinate with the management of malls in their respective areas of responsibility, especially with security staff, for the enforcement of health and safety standards.
The PNP chief also ordered his men to always observe maximum tolerance and to treat those inside the malls, including violators, with the utmost respect.
He also urged the public to cooperate with the rules being implemented for everyone’s safety.
To date, health authorities have recorded 2,206,021 coronavirus infections in the Philippines.
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