MANILA—The leadership in the House of Representatives wants senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to avail of the local absentee voting to ease their difficulties faced during elections.
In a statement on Friday, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said there is no law granting PWDs and senior citizens the privilege to vote under the local absentee voting system, which is meant to increase participation by citizens who are in situations that prevent them to vote.
Alvarez further noted that the law requiring the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to set up precincts accessible to PWDs and senior citizens is not enough to facilitate voting, considering that many people still failed to vote because of their mobility limitations or their physical and health conditions.
Alvarez filed House Bill No. 5019 to ensure that senior citizens and PWDs, who are unable to vote in their registered precincts during election day on account of their physical and health conditions can cast their votes as local absentee voters in places other than where they are registered, subject to the rules and regulations issued by the Comelec.
“The State must ensure that they are able to exercise their right to vote in a comfortable manner and with greater accessibility,” Alvarez said.
The bill proposes an amendment to Republic Act No. 10380, or “An Act Providing for Local Absentee Voting for Media” to extend the right to vote under the local absentee voting system to PWDs and senior citizens.
The new law shall be known as the “Expanded Voting Act of 2017”.
The Comelec is given 60 days from the effectivity of the act to promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations.
Under the current law, the absentee voting system covers members of the media and government officials and employees.