MANILA – Election is around the corner in the Philippines and everybody is frantic preparations for the May 9, 2022 event that will elect the next leaders of the country from the President down to the municipal councilor.

On the part of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), it has set the filing of certificates of candidacies starting October 1. It is also doing other preparations to ensure a smooth and transparent election.

In connection with the filing of COCs, for one, the Comelec is requiring national candidates to present a negative coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) test result, before they will be allowed to file their COCs at its main office  in Palacio de Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.

National candidates are those running for President, Vice President, Senators and Party-List Representatives who can be voted upon by Filipinos in the country as well as the Overseas Filipinos who have registered as voters in the country they are residing or working in.

In Resolution No. 10717, the poll body said it will only accept COCs from candidates in the presidential, vice presidential, and senatorial positions who will be able to present a negative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result taken within the last 24 hours prior to the filing of COC.

“Pursuant to the guidelines issued by the National Government, IATF-EID (Inter-Agency Task Force and Local Government Unit concerned, the following measures shall be observed at all times in the filing of COC. For aspirants for the positions of President, Vice-President, Senator, RT-PCR test or antigen test taken within the last twenty-four (24) hours prior to the filing of COC, indicating a negative result shall be required,” it said.

Also those who have been required to present negative Covid-19 test results are: authorized representative of the aspirants, representative of the groups for the party-list system, their companions, Comelec personnel in charge of receiving COCs, security personnel, and members of the media.

At the same time, the Comelec is only allowing a maximum of three people to accompany national candidates in filing their COCs.

For other positions, local candidates are only allowed two people to accompany them in the submission of their COCs.

Those running in national positions, including party-List representative, may file their COCs at the poll body’s Law Department or in any other venue that may be designated by the Commission en Banc.

For members of the House of Representatives for legislative districts in the National Capital Region (NCR), they may submit their COCs at the Office of the Regional Director, NCR.

For members of House of Representatives for legislative districts in provinces, they may go to the Office of Provincial Election Supervisor concerned while those Members of House of Representatives for legislative districts in cities outside the NCR, which comprise one or more legislative districts, can file their COCs at the Office of the City Election Officer concerned designated for the purpose by the Regional Election Director.

For Governor, Vice-Governor, Members of Sangguniang Panlalawigan, the filing will be at the Office of Provincial Election Supervisor while for Mayor, Vice-Mayor in the cities with more than one Election Officer, the COCs can be filed at the Office of the City Election Officer concerned designated for the purpose by the Regional Election Director.

Candidates as members of the Sangguniang Panlungsod in cities with more than one Election Officer, the filing will be at the Office of the City Election Officer of the district concerned.

For Mayor, Vice Mayor, Member, Sangguniang Panlungsod in cities with only one legislative district, the COCs can be filed at the Office of the City Election Office while aspirants for Municipal Mayor, Municipal Vice-Mayor, Member, Sangguniang Bayan, the filing will be at the Office of Municipal Election Officer.

For those running as Members of the Parliament of BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao), COCs will be accepted at the Office of the Regional Elections Director in Cotabato City, Marawi City, and Zamboanga City.

The filing of COC will be from October 1 to 8.