Comelec spox says COC filers to blame if pre-filing rallies turn out as superspreader events

October 5, 2021 - 6:45 PM
Supporters of Philippine senator Manny Pacquiao gather outside the Sofitel Hotel, where the newly retired boxing icon will file his certificate of candidacy for president, in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines, October 1, 2021. (Reuters/Eloisa Lopez)

The Commission on Elections warned political aspirants of encouraging potential COVID-19 superspreader events if they would allow mass gatherings of their supporters during the filing of Certificates of Candidacy.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez tweeted the warning on his account on Tuesday, where it has gained more than 100 likes, 20 retweets and around four comments as of this writing.

“The politicians who allow mass gatherings of their supporters, are the ones to blame if their pre-COC filing rallies turn out to be superspreaders,” he wrote.

Some Twitter accounts commented some aspirants’ names, claiming that they were supposedly guilty of the initiative.

“Ayan @MannyPacquiao, to be blamed ka raw sa pagkalat ng veerus,” a Twitter user alleged.

“Isko is it!!!” claimed another online user.

Earlier this week, alleged pictures of crowds supporting presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao near Manila Bay surfaced on Reddit.

It was posted two days after the retired boxer filed his COC for president in the 2022 elections.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, another presidential aspirant, was similarly welcomed by his supporters on the day of his COC filing.

Supporters of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio were also spotted in Pasay City despite her filing COC for a third term as the local chief executive in her family’s hometown.

The Department of Health requires everyone to have at least a one-meter distance from everyone. This is nearly equivalent to a length of a motorcycle.

Meanwhile, the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Protection said that individuals should observe “at least 6 feet” or “about an arm’s length” distance from each other to mitigate the risk.

“Social distancing, also called ‘physical distancing,’ means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household,” its website said.

“Recent studies indicate that people who are infected but do not have symptoms likely also play a role in the spread of COVID-19. Since people can spread the virus before they know they are sick, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others when possible, even if you—or they—do not have any symptoms,” it further said.

COVID-19 is transmitted through aerosols and respiratory droplets that are emitted through talking, shouting, singing, coughing and sneezing.

Strictly practicing physical distancing measures is one of the means of mitigating the spread of the virus which has a high transmission rate, especially the Delta variant.

Experts said that observing such a preventive measure is crucial for “flattening the curve” or significantly reducing the number of infections in a community so that the health care system would not be burdened.