Aquino signs law making voting easier for PWDs, seniors
MANILA, Philippines—President Aquino has signed into law a measure requiring the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to set up precincts that are readily accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens ahead of the May 13 polls.
Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10366, An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to Establish Precincts Assigned to Accessible Polling Places Exclusively for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens, on Feb. 15.
The law addresses the concerns of PWDs and senior citizens on election day.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said RA 10366 mandates the Comelec to provide PWDs such assistance as separate and accessible voting precincts.
Either a relative by consanguinity or affinity, within the fourth civil degree, or a member of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) may assist PWDs in casting their vote, if need be, said Valte in a recent radio interview.
“This law will require the registration or (recording) of persons with disabilities and senior citizens with the Comelec, so that they can identify those with disabilities needing assistance when it comes to the voting,” she said.
Aside from the PWD-accessible voting centers, the Comelec should come up with “assistive devices” and other forms of services to PWDs, Valte said.
“Our ballots should also have reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and senior citizens. Of course, these include assistance in the accomplishment of the ballots because we can’t rule out situations where we have PWDs in need of assistance,” she said.
As a result of this law, the Comelec is required to have all its staff undergo appropriate training programs.
Covered by this training requirement are those who perform electoral duties, including field officers, BEI members and accredited citizen arms, “to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens,” said Valte.