2023 BSKE: Woman can’t read and write but braves odds to vote
QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Irene Loang can’t read and write. She also has mild Down syndrome. But she eagerly went to cast her vote early on Monday, the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Election (BSKE) Day – her very first of many more voting exercises she hoped to take part in.
Accompanied by her parents Juliet, 54, and Roldan, 60, the 20-year-old was among the early birds at the Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City.
In an interview prior to casting their votes, Juliet told INQUIRER.net that she wants her daughter to exercise her right to vote and gain experience in voting.
“Gusto kong maranasan [ni Irene] na makaboto. Pina-rehistro ko kasi sabi ng poll watchers ay pwede naman pong i-assist ng magulang,” Juliet said.
(I want Irene to experience being able to vote. I registered her because poll watchers said parents can assist.)
Asked what challenges they endured before Irene was able to cast her vote, Juliet said they were confused at first as to where their designated polling center really is.
“’Yung mga kandidato ay itinuturo naman niya kung sino ang gusto kaya isusulat ko na lang po ang gusto niya,” Juliet narrated, describing how she helped her daughter, who cannot read not write, to cast her ballot.
(She would point to the candidate she likes and then I write it down.)
The mission was a success, according to Juliet, because Irene finally experienced registering her vote in just a few minutes albeit with assistance.
Polling at Pasong Tamo Elementary School in Quezon City was automated. Irene was accommodated through a special lane for persons with disability and senior citizens.