Senior Citizen partylist Rep. Francisco G. Datol gave a statement that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should do what they can to make sure all senior citizens can cast their votes on May 13 (Election Day), as they face possible “systematic disenfranchisement”.
“The elderly are vulnerable to deliberate efforts to cause them not to vote or keep them from finding their precincts, so the burden of thwarting such orchestrated efforts is on the Comelec and its citizen’s arms,” said Datol. He also warned that some politicians may take advantage of the “disenfranchisement” in a desperate measure to manipulate election results.
“In the past, there were still some seniors who had to go up and down stairs, while others got lost and were unable to vote,” Datol said as he continued in Filipino, “I encourage the Comelec to make voting easier for our seniors. For those whose regular precincts require going up stairs, let them use a precinct on the ground or hand them their assigned ballots.”
According to Comelec Resolution 10486, smooth voting for seniors, PWDs, and heavily pregnant women will be implemented “consistently” nationwide. Datol said Comelec can easily identify senior registered voters, using its computerized database, “A special list of senior voters can be generated and printed out, so seniors can find their special precinct which should be at the most conveniently accessible rooms in a school or designated shopping mall.”
Though he suggested that seniors can choose to vote in their regular precinct, he finds it more helpful that they be led to the most accessible precinct and be taken care of. “If it’s a hot day, precincts should have water and on-call first-aid teams, after all it’s El Niño summer,” Datol said in Filipino.
Datol is also vice chairman of the House Committee on Senior Citizens Affairs, and a member of the House Committee on Electoral Suffrage.
A version of this story appeared on Manila Bulletin.