PWDs, elderly to get priority in May polls

THE COMMISSION on Election (Comelec) has vowed to prioritize persons with disabilities (PWD) and senior citizens during May 2016 elections.

Third district election officer Reynne Joy Bullecer said that PWDs and the elderly will be given special services during the polls so they will be comfortable when they cast their votes.

Colemec data showed that a total of 74,286 PWDs and senior citizens were registered voters in the city. Of the figure, 942 were only PWDs while the remaining 73,344 are the registered senior citizen.

The first district has recoded the most number of senior citizens with 42,624 and PWDs with 395; the second district has 30,051 senior citizens and 282 PWDs; while third district has lowest figure with 1,647 senior citizens and 265 PWDs.

Bullecer also assured that a separate area in the polling place shall be assigned for the exclusive use of the elderly and PWDs in casting their votes. She added that assistive devices and experts’ services will also be given to the PWDs who need some help.

In a Comelec resolution dated Dec. 23, the poll body approved the recommendation to create a consolidated project of precincts with accessible polling place (APP) instead of creating the specialized precincts, which means that senior citizens and PWDs will “accomplish the ballots in the polling place together with the othervoters assigned to the cluster.”

The establishment of APP was part of the implementation of Republic Act 10366 which was signed by President Benigno Aquino III in 2013 that authorizes the Comelec to put up voting precincts exclusively for PWDs and senior citizens.

However, Redendo Martinez, vice president of Davao City’s Association of Differently Abled Persons (ADAP), earlier hoped that the local absentee voting privilege must be extended to PWDs because they are still having a hard time casting their votes even if the Comelec ordered that all polling precincts be held on the ground floor.

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