Across the world by early 2021, over 100 countries and territories held elections and plebiscites during the pandemic.
As the pandemic continues to shape the reality of Filipino citizens over one year after its outbreak, the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG) together with the La Salle Institute of Governance, NAMFREL, CODE-NGO, IDEALS, Stratbase ADRi, and Democracy Watch, conducted a series of webinars that discuss the successes and challenges of holding elections under new normal conditions.
Even with the anticipated arrival of some vaccine tranches sometime in 2021, some expect that it is unlikely the Philippines will be able to complete the vaccination campaign given the twin challenges of vaccine access and vaccine hesitancy in the medium term. With the estimated target for herd immunity set a full year after the elections at 2023, it is prudent to prepare with the assumption that the pandemic will still be an issue for many citizens. In “Halalan 2.0: Holding Free, Fair and Safe Elections in the New Normal,” election experts from three countries offered key insights and recommendations drawing on their own election experiences.
Key Policy Messages
It is increasingly likely that the May 2022 Philippine national elections will need to be conducted under pandemic conditions, so the country must prepare at the earliest possible time.
International experience suggests it is possible to hold successful elections even under pandemic conditions, and within reasonable cost to protect citizens and create and environment of safe and secure elections.
The Palawan plebiscite conducted in March 2021 is further proof that democratic processes can be continued even under the pandemic.
This note draws on international policy experience and estimates that the Philippines will need to allocate roughly PhP10 billion in additional funds in order to “COVID-proof” the May 2022 elections. In total, roughly PhP16-18 billion should be allocated to COMELEC in order to prepare and organize successful elections in May 2022.
Download the full policy note here: https://bit.ly/COVIDProofingPolicyNote
This draft has been prepared as part of Participate, a non-partisan, pro-democracy coalition dedicated to engage and empower the political participation of the Filipino people. This coalition is led by the Ateneo School of Government (ASOG), together with the De La Salle University - Institute of Governance, the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL), Caucus of Development NGO Networks (CODE-NGO), and the Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS).