Press Release
November 12, 2012

Bill granting privileges to PWDs and senior citizens
during elections approved

The Senate has approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3287, enabling the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to grant special privileges to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens that will make it easier for them to eventually register and vote for themselves.

Otherwise known as the Electoral Processes Accessibility Act of 2012, SBN 3287, was authored by Senator Koko Pimentel and co-authored by Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, Miriam Santiago, Kiko Pangilinan and Franklin Drilon.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lauded the passage of the bill, saying that the increase in voter population that the measure will generate pales in comparison to the amount of dignity and pride that it has brought to the under-privileged sector.

Under SBN 3287, special polling and registration places will be set up for PWDs and senior citizens.

"The Constitution mandates for Congress to design a procedure for the disabled and the elderly to enable them to exercise their right to vote. Both the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 and the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability calls for making the lives of PWDs and the elderly more livable," Pimentel explained, adding that the best way to honor their contributions to society is to make "polling places more accessible to them during national and local elections."

"Thus, under this bill, Comelec is tasked to render appropriate assistance to PWDs and senior citizens to enable them to participate in the electoral process," Pimentel said.

With voter registration ending last October 31, the country is now preparing for next year's National and Local Elections.

Among the measures that Comelec is expected to implement once SBN 3287 is signed into law by President Noynoy Aquino is the designation of polling places that must be located on the ground floor of each voting center, located, preferably, near the entrance to the building.

The bill also allows Comelec to either maintain existing precinct assignments, establish a separate precinct for PWDs and senior citizens, or combine them with other voters, for as long as the voting area is located on the ground floor of the assigned building.

The Comelec shall likewise keep an updated record of PWDs and senior citizens who are duly registered to vote, indicating the type of disability of each and everyone, and the assistance they need.

"Comelec, in coordination with other government agencies, PWD and senior citizen organizations and other cause-oriented groups, shall make sure that any and all types of assistance is made available during the registration period, especially during election day," Pimentel said. (YVONNE ALMIRAÑEZ, PRIB)

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