Philippines: Comelec bans smoking in voting precincts

15 April 2016

CIGARETTE smoking will be prohibited in all voting precincts nationwide during the May 9 local and national elections.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesman, Director James Jimenez, on Friday disclosed that the directive was contained in Comelec Minute Resolution No.16-0234, which was approved en banc on April 5.

The smoking ban was sought by Civil Service Commission (CSC) Chairman Alicia de la Rosa Bala in a letter to Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista requesting for assistance in enforcing CSC Memorandum Circular No.17 or the Smoking Prohibition based on a 100% Smoke-Free Environment Policy in all voting precincts.

Bala said the role of the Comelec is indispensable in securing smoke-free environments for our voters, volunteers and everyone who will participate in the proceedings inside the precincts.

Covered by the Comelec ban on smoking are all voting precincts located in schools, universities and colleges.

There are 36,788 voting centers and 92,509 clustered precincts nationwide for the May 9 polls.

Also included are precincts inside selected shopping malls all over the country even as Comelec pointed out that smoking is prohibited inside malls with or without elections.

Bautista disclosed that the Comelec is in the process of finalizing its memorandum of agreement with shopping malls that would be utilized as voting centers on election day, as well as the list of precincts that would be transferred.

The poll chief said that most of the precincts that would be transferred are those located near the participating malls, involving some 200,000 registered voters.

Among those eyed as voting centers are the Fisher Mall along Quezon Ave. in Quezon City; Robinsons Magnolia in Aurora Blvd., Quezon City; SM Aura in Taguig City, and Lucky China Town in Binondo, Manila.

The concept of mall voting was approved by the Commission en banc by a vote of 6-1.