The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) is only encouraging voters in the March 13 plebiscite for the proposed division of Palawan province to wear face shields.

Juan Gonzales, election officer of Kalayaan, Palawan, said Thursday they do not want to disenfranchise people in the province particularly those in the far-flung areas of the province.

“They are so many, let us say they are in the farthest islands. We know that Palawan is divided by islands. There is no supply of face shield in their areas, which might be the reason for them not to participate or the people from the mountains, or our native brothers, who cannot afford to buy rice. This is also for their equal rights,” Gonzales said in a virtual press conference.

He said they encourage those who can afford to buy face shields to wear one for the safety of other voters.

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He, however, said the wearing of face mask is mandatory for all voters.

“The wearing of face mask is mandatory whether they are poor or rich. Before entering the polling precinct or inside voting centers they have to wear their face masks on,” he added.

“Let me reiterate that the wearing of face shield is not a requirement but the voters are encouraged to wear one for your own health security,” Gonzales said.

Pursuant to Republic Act 11259, Palawan will be holding a plebiscite next month to determine whether or not it would be divided into three separate provinces — Palawan Oriental, Palawan del Norte, and Palawan del Sur. (PNA)

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