Commissioner Rowena Guanzon of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) assured the public that the COMELEC will be ready to manage the elections in 2022 even with the pandemic. Guanzon made the assurance during the meeting of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) last March 16. She cited the Palawan plebiscite held on March 13 as an encouraging example of how voting may be conducted while under strict health protocols.
Guanzon told KBP members that media is expected to play an important role in next year’s elections because of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic on face-to-face campaigning. Guanzon also voiced her concern about the danger of fake news preventing voters from making an informed choice. She urged the KBP to make sure that its members do not promote, propagate or tolerate fake news. She asked the KBP to undertake a voter education program to help stop fake news from preventing people from participating in the elections.
Guanzon also stressed the importance of press freedom and free speech in preserving genuine democracy. “We should fight for it,” she said. “If [the] press is shut out, we are not in a healthy democracy.” She also said, “The media has a great role to play in making sure that it’s going to be a genuine democracy through elections.”