MANILA, Philippines – As the voting precincts opened to local voters Monday, May 13, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) expressed satisfaction on the newly approved resolution to address a long-time election concern: accessibility.
For the 2019 midterm elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) required the designation of Emergency Accessible Polling Place (EAPP) on the first floor of schools serving as polling centers, which should make the voting process more accessible and easier for PWDs, senior citizens, and heavily pregnant women. (READ: 2019 Elections: 61 million voters expected to troop to the polls nationwide)
"No prior registration is required to avail of EAPP voting, just approach the teachers assigned," election lawyer Emil Marañon III said.
For schools with no upper floors, Marañon said polling precincts are still required to provide priority access to senior citizens, PWDs, and pregnant women as they cast their votes at their respective regular precincts.
"Under the law, even if they vote in a regular precinct, they are still the priority," Marañon said.
This is the case that happened in barangays Bubukal, San Juan, and Labuin in Sta. Cruz Laguna. According to Clea Manalo, school principal of Bubukal Elementary School in Laguna, PWDs and senior citizens were provided priority lanes.
“Walang isang precinct na doon mo iipon ang mga PWDs [and senior citizens]. Kung saan silang precinct [depende sa barangay nila] at sila ay PWDs, sila ang priority. Kumbaga may access lane, kukunin agad sila,” said Manalo.
(Each precinct has a priority lane. There is no specific precinct designated to all PWDs and senior citizens. Depending on their respective precinct per barangay, if they are PWDs then they will be prioritized, In other words, there’s an access lane for them.)
Below are some photos of senior citizens, pregnant women and PWDs casting their votes.
Photo by Jhon Oliver Nery/Rappler
Photo by Janric Bayao/Rappler
Photo by Mau Victa/Rappler
Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler
Photo by Jorge Gambao/Rappler
Photo by Marnell Sularan/Rappler
Bookmark this Rappler page for real-time election results.
It will go live as soon as precincts close at 6 pm Monday, May 13.