The Philippines’ Covid-19 inter-agency task force has approved safety protocols for a plebiscite that will decide on the proposal to split Palawan’s into three provinces.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11259, or the “Charter of the Provinces of Palawan del Norte, Palawan Oriental and Palawan del Sur,” on April 5, 2019, but a plebiscite is needed to ratify it.

The plebiscite should have been conducted on May 11, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the health protocols for the voting process on Thursday, Oct. 8.

Registered voters between 18 and 21 years old, aged 60 and above, those with immunodeficiency, comorbidity or other health risks and pregnant women will be exempted from stay-at-home protocols and allowed to vote.

The Commission on Elections was also urged to put in place safety mechanisms and procedures so Covid-19 patients, with or without symptoms, could vote.

Palawan had 59 active Covid-19 cases as of Friday. John Ezekiel J. Hirro