President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give candidates for the 2022 elections the space to conduct campaigns safely, as the country continues to battle Covid-19.

In his “Talk to the People” address, the president said the Comelec must allow politicians to assemble.

“‘Yan ang problema ng Comelec—kung papayagan nila tayong mag-assemble because you cannot campaign by just shouting at one corner. You have to have a place where maybe they would limit the attendants or the number of people there,” he said.

Duterte said there could never be an election without a campaign period as not all candidates could afford advertisements.

“I’d like to remind the Comelec that you must give the candidates really the space and whatever modalities there,” he said.

The campaign period for national posts will begin in February.

More than 28.7 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or 37.23 percent of the country’s estimated 110 million population.

The country has been aiming to ramp up its vaccination rate to achieve herd immunity by yearend, but over 40 million vaccine doses have yet to be deployed due to the lack of proper storage facilities in local government units. John Ezekiel J. Hirro