COVID-19 test ‘mandatory’ as POC holds polls on Nov. 27
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Olympic Committee will hold its elections in an environment where everybody is a coronavirus (COVID-19) suspect.
To avoid a disastrous wave of infection among sports officials, all voters during the polls will undergo testing before the scheduled Nov. 27 elections where the newly elected officials will serve a complete four-year term until the 2024 Paris Olympics.
POC president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino confirmed that officials designated to cast their votes on behalf of their respective national sports associations would be required to go through rapid or swab-testing at least two days before the polls.
“It will be mandatory. The health of everybody who will be there during the elections is our priority,” Tolentino told the Inquirer.
The representative from the eighth district of Cavite province will run for a second straight term after winning as POC chief early last year in an election that was called due to the resignation of former POC president Ricky Vargas.
The POC electorate is made up of 51 national sports associations, two Olympians from the athletes commission and International Olympic Committee executive board member Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski.
“We will strictly follow government protocols on social gatherings and secure the necessary permit from the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases) if needed,” said Tolentino.
The elections will be held either at the Conrad Hotel inside the Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City or East Ocean Palace on Macapagal Avenue in Paranaque City, which are both capable of accommodating 2,000 people to observe maximum social distancing.
Tolentino said the voters have the option to avail testing provided for by the POC at the venue two days before the elections or present a certification that they went through COVID-19 testing.
Other positions to be contested are the chairmanship, 1st and 2nd vice presidents, treasurer, auditor and four board members. The secretary-general is an appointee of the POC president.
A three-man election committee has been created headed by former IOC member Frank Elizalde with arbitration lawyer Teodoro Kalaw IV and House of Representatives Committee on Youth and Sports Development chairman Eric Martinez as members.
The POC general assembly will gather in a virtual meeting on Sept. 30 to discuss the schedule of filing of candidacy and the proposed guidelines of the polls in an abnormal atmosphere caused by COVID-19.
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