The group Sulong Dignidad is asking the Commission on Elections to make polling precincts more accessible to senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Sulong Dignidad president and first nominee Atty. Rico Paolo Quicho said Comelec should implement measures to help senior citizens and PWDs find their voting precincts and aid those who require assistance, especially those who have difficulties with mobility.
Republic Act 10366, an act that authorizes Comelec to establish accessible polling places for PWDs and senior citizens, was first implemented during the 2016 national elections.
According to its implementing rules and regulations, in the event that no PWD or Senior Citizen registered voter manifests an intention to be assigned to an accessible precinct, “polling places shall, whenever practicable, be located at the ground floor which shall be made compliant with the requirements of an Accessible Polling Place.”
However, after the law took effect, many PWDs and seniors were still discouraged to vote citing long queues, difficulty finding their precincts, and lack of assistance from election board officers.
Quicho lauded the efforts of Comelec to make the elections more inclusive but said more still needs to be done.
“Comelec should make sure that PWDs and seniors are assisted all the time,” Quicho said.
“Aside from this, Comelec can install ramps to make polling areas even more accessible. They could also look into how to provide more effective signages and deploy sign language interpreters to assist deaf voters,” he added.