GIVEN the lingering threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ordered the creation of a “new normal” committee that will allow the agency to conduct electoral exercises amid the pandemic.
Based on Resolution No. 10688, the Comelec en banc decided to create the Comelec New Normal Committee (CNNC) to be chaired by a poll commissioner.
“As long as the world has not found a cure nor a vaccine against this COVID-19 virus, the Commission must adjust to a new normal state/situation, which differs from the state on that prevailed prior to the start of this COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Comelec.
“Therefore, by virtue of the powers vested in it by the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines, the Commission has resolved to create the Comelec New Normal Committee for the conduct of electoral exercises under the new normal conditions,” it said.
A commissioner-in-charge will be designated as CNNC chairman while the Comelec executive director will serve as vice chairman.
Among the CNNC’s mandates are to consult the appropriate government agencies/departments with technical authority on health issues for new normal minimum public health standards/protocols, which aim to prevent further spread/transition of the COVID-19 virus.
It is also tasked to identify which of the current election operational activities need to be changed and would require management or administrative intervention to prevent the spread or transmission of the COVID-19 during the operational activities for the conduct of electoral exercises.
The CNNC is also directed to formulate and develop a comprehensive Comelec New Normal Manual covering a continuing program with due regard to the stage of the pandemic.