Single precinct for PWDs, seniors urged for barangay polls
MANILA, Philippines – An election watchdog and other sectoral groups called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make it easier for the vulnerable sectors to vote in October for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan officials.
For starters, they proposed that persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens be assigned to a single precinct per voting center on October 28.
This was among the proposals aired by the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente), the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (Akap Pinoy), and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) at a press conference on Thursday, July 18.
"The right to suffrage is a human right," so the goverment must ensure a favorable environment for PWDs, senior citizens, and indigenous peoples (IPs) to exercise that right, said CHR chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales.
Lente acting executive director Atty Ona Caritos lauded Comelec's efforts to attend to the needs of the vulnerable sectors in the midterm elections last May.
For one, it modified registration forms to cater to PWDs and IPs. It also removed the requirement for IPs to produce IDs and instead accepted certifications or attestations of identification.
The NCIP also cited the Comelec and the Department of the Interior and Local Government for helping the NCIP bring the voter's registration process to the indigenous peoples in the mountains. It led to a 10% increase in registered voters among IPs.
For the upcoming barangay and SK polls, voters' registration is from July 22 to 31.
Still, the sectors encountered difficulties in the May polls.
NCDA's Marlu Evangelista noted that there were priority lanes for vulnerable sectors on the ground floor of some voting centers. However, some PWDs and the elderly still had to go to their original precincts in the upper floors because they forgot to pre-register to be identified as PWDs or senior citizens.
Laura Buñag of Akap Pinoy shared the insensitive behavior of some election personnel toward PWDs, especially those with non-manifest disabilities.
Buñag said election officials should be made to undergo sensitivity trainings. – Rappler.com