MANILA, Phillipines – In line with the re-registration of all voters in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Commission on Elections (Comelec) proposes to move its July 21 nationwide special voters registration day for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to August.
Comelec has decided to reset the special PWD registration day to give way to the ARMM general registration from July 9 to 18. The poll body, however, is yet to determine exactly when on August will the postponed PWD registration resume.
According to Comelec Resolutions 9442 and 9443, all ongoing registrations from June 25 to July 31 nationwide will be suspended because “the Commission will utilize its personnel in the non-ARMM areas and deploy its equipment to augment the personnel and equipment requirements in ARMM areas.”
The poll body decided on May 11 to conduct voters re-registration in ARMM, heeding calls made by the Senate and President Aquino himself to nullify the region’s current list of voters and conduct a new round of registration to ensure clean and honest elections there.
ARMM covers Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur.
Comelec has originally set the PWD registration this year to July 21 to coincide with the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week from July 17 to 23. On this day, satellite registration centers will be installed in easily-to-access places like malls to cater to PWDs.
Regular voters registration in non-ARMM areas will resume on August 1 until October 31. PWDs can also register anytime between these dates if they wish to.
Registration for PWDs
For the 2013 elections, Comelec has conducted focused registrations for PWDs by regions per month:
- March 2012 for Regions VI-VIII
- April 2012 for Regions IX-XII and CARAGA
- May 2012 for Regions I-V, CAR and NCR
Based on Comelec data, 24,573 PWDs have already registered and updated their biometrics as of June 12. Region VII registers the most registrants, with 5,256 PWDs, followed by Region IV-A (4,167), Region V (2,242) and Region VIII (2,238).
Based on a SWS survey commissioned by the Asia Foundation, the participation rate of PWDs decreased from 60% in 2007 to 54% in 2010. Some 22% of PWDs who were of voting age in 2010 didn’t bother to register for the first automated elections.
In an event in May, Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento said that the poll body believes that “reaching out to and working with PWDs has legal, constitutional, and international support.” And so, the poll body has come up with two resolutions for PWDs:
- Resolution 9149, which created express lanes for the disabled during registration
- Resolution 9220, which allows PWDs to have assisters when registering and voting
Sarmiento added that the poll body has installed satellite registration centers in more than 28 malls in 2011 to cater especially to PWDs. “This action is now being recognized in the world as a good practice,” he said. – Rappler.com
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