Governor Jose Alvarez said he is expecting the plebiscite on the division of Palawan into three provinces to be held in July.

The polling, which was originally scheduled last May 10, was sidetracked by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During his “Pakimanan ta si Gob” live address, Alvarez said the lifting of the GCQ in Palawan will prompt the Commission on Elections to hold the plebiscite.

“I believe that sometime in July, matutuloy ang plebisito,” he said.

Alvarez said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) En Banc will decide on the new schedule of the plebiscite when everything returns back to normal.

He emphasized that the activity will happen in accordance with the law.

“Matutuloy yan dahil may batas yan. Immediately after this emergency ay COMELEC will issue a resolution, I think June or July matutuloy ‘yan. COMELEC En Banc na ang magde-decide. Imbis na isang araw ay gagawing dalawang araw medyo magastos lang but we are ready. Of course, matutuloy yan this year,” Alvarez said.

Under the Omnibus Election Code and established jurisprudence, the COMELEC has the authority to suspend plebiscites if needed.

The COMELEC ordered the immediate suspension of ongoing preparatory activities for the holding of the plebiscite in May on the planned division, taking note of the quarantine measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

In a memorandum dated March 25 addressed to Malacañang, the poll body stated that they decided to approve recommendations to suspend preparations “effective immediately.”

“The COMELEC En Bank after due deliberation has approved the suspension of all preparatory activities relative to the conduct of plebiscite to ratify the division of the province of Palawan upon the recommendation citing the ongoing ECQ declared by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The suspension of the preparatory activities of the Palawan plebiscite is effective immediately,” the memorandum signed by acting COMELEC secretary Consuelo B. Diola stated.

Republic Act No. 11259 was approved and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in April 2019.