Press Release
August 27, 2021

Revilla: Ensure senior citizens, vulnerable sectors can vote amid pandemic

Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. is concerned that the senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors would be discouraged and won't exercise their right to vote in the coming 2022 elections, as the Delta variant of the novel Coronavirus rages on.

"Lahat po ng maaari nating gawin upang mas mapadali para sa kanila ang pagboto at makahikayat tayo ng mas maraming botante para sa 2022 elections at sa mga darating pang mga halalan ay magandang hakbang upang masiguro natin ang partisipasyon ng ating mga kababayan sa pinaka-importanteng democratic exercise sa ating bansa," Revilla said during his interpellation on Senate Bill 2216 on Wednesday.

SBN 2216 under Committee Report 260 presented by the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation seeks to enhance accessibility in the voting of senior citizens, persons with disabilities, pregnant women and Indigenous Peoples (IPs).

The measure, among others, proposes early voting for the abovementioned sectors for a period not less than two (2) days within thirty (30) calendar days before Election Day at accessible establishments.

"If we allow our senior citizens and other vulnerable sectors of the population to vote early, malaki po ang mababawas sa pila sa mismong araw ng eleksyon. 14% of the voters are senior citizens. At hindi na nila kailangang makipagsiksikan," Revilla stated.

Nonetheless, he noted of the very low turnout among voters aged 60 years old and up even before the threat of the pandemic, "Less than 3% of the 8 million senior citizen registered voters actually voted during the 2019 elections," Revilla citing data earlier presented by the Committee.

Revilla, however, remained worried about the Commission on Elections' existing capability to successfully conduct postal voting for the upcoming presidential elections, provided as another option for the sector in Section 4 of the proposed bill.

"Is this bill intended to be implemented for the 2022 elections? O sa mga susunod pang halalan? Kung sa 2022, kaya po ba ng Comelec na ipatupad ang postal early voting sa darating na Mayo? May sapat bang panahon upang mailatag ang lahat ng kailangan upang maipatupad ito, considering that we are less than 12 months away from the elections?" Revilla asked.

Lastly, Revilla also showed concern about the possibility of added bureaucracy before one can actually vote under a postal voting system, "Why is there a need for the barangay Chairman to certify the voters list, as reported in the media allegedly to ensure that the person voting is alive and a genuine resident in their barangay? Hindi po ba ito additional requirement na maaaring maka-disenfranchise ng voters?"

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