Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Wednesday urged government to ensure that the pandemic wouldn't trim voter turnout next year, after a survey that he commissioned showed that fear of catching COVID could force some to stay home on election day.
Zubiri presented results of the commissioned Pulse Asia survey, which showed that 46% of respondents said they would skip the 2022 elections if COVID-19 cases in their barangays are high.
Some 35% of the respondents said they would still go out and vote, while 19% were undecided. Zubiri said the questions he commissioned were issued alongside the June 2021 Pulse Asia survey on the willingness of Filipinos to get a COVID-19 vaccine. That study had 2,400 respondents with a 2% error margin.
Zubiri raised concerns over the results of the survey, noting that a low voter turnout could affect the credibility of the elections.
"Kung laganap pa ang COVID-19 cases sa bansa sa darating na halalan, marami sa ating mga kababayan ay hindi na lang boboto dahil sa takot nila na mahawa sa COVID-19," he said.
"Kung below 50% ang makakaboto sa darating na eleksyon, magkakaroon ba ito ng kredibilidad at magiging katanggap-tanggap sa ating mga kababayan?" he added.
He said the Commission on Elections should ensure that health and safety protocols are in place in polling places come election day. He also proposed to legislate a measure that would extend the period of election by one day to avoid overcrowding in polling precincts.
Zubiri also called on the government to fast-track its vaccination efforts so that more people can be immunized against COVID-19 before election day.
"Tanging bakuna lang po sa ngayon ang susi sa pagbangon muli ng ekonomiya, pagbabalik ng trabaho at kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan. Hindi po tayo dapat tumigil hangga't ang bawat isang Pilipino ay mabakunahan," he added.