The Commission on Human Rights on Friday lauded the Bureau of Corrections and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology for the peaceful and orderly exercise of voting rights of persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) during the May 9 polls.
Spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said a total of 1,732 PDLs voted for a president, vice president, senators, and party-list in their special polling precincts – akin to absentee voting by overseas Filipino workers.
“CHR recognizes the immense effort of BuCor and BJMP to uphold and secure the safe electoral participation of incarcerated individuals awaiting the final resolution of their cases. The Commission also notes the agencies’ rigorous coordination with the Commission on Elections for reaching remote confinement facilities and conducting orientations with PDLs on election rules and the voting process,” she noted.
PDLs were provided with access to radio and television to ensure their informed individual decisions, while medical personnel, equipped with personal protective equipment, were also present in the special polling precincts to maintain adherence to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“The Commission believes that providing PDLs the full respect of their rights, such as the right to suffrage, helps us fashion their effective rehabilitation and reintegration back to society,” De Guia said.
Their voting rights affirmed their inclusion in the country’s democracy.
“Casting their ballot not only brings them hope, but also gives them a sense of social responsibility,” De Guia said.
“CHR remains hopeful of the continued collective work of government and civil society to advocate the rights of the most disadvantaged in the country,” she added.