COTABATO CITY, Philippines — The inter-agency pandemic task force in Malabang, Lanao del Sur has urged municipal election officer Samirah Omar to suspend the listing of new voters to avert the rise of coronavirus infections in the area.
In a letter to Omar dated August 31, Malabang Mayor Mohamad Yahyah Macapodi, who chairs the local task force, said there are seven new COVID-19 cases now in the municipality.
Six other residents are now being monitored for possibly having contracted the disease, he also said.
The mayor said the new COVID-19 cases require the suspension of gatherings where people do not follow health protocols like physical distancing.
Photos of crowding at voter registration sites have gone viral on social media and has caused alarm among Malabang residents and officials of the Bangsamoro regional government. The police are members of local pandemic task forces and are usually called on to ensure protocols are followed.
Omar has reportedly responded to the request by saying the Commission on Elections can conduct the listing of voters despite Lanao del Sur being under Modified General Community Quarantine. MGCQ is the loosest form of quarantine although precautions like face masks, face shields and physical distancing are still required.
Malabang is a seaside town in the first district of Lanao del Sur, a component province of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.