Offices overseeing senior citizens and persons with disability (PWD) affairs in Bohol commended the House of Representatives’ approval of a bill that seeks to allow both vulnerable sectors to vote early during the local and national elections in 2022.
Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) Bohol head Alvaro Gujol said the measure’s passage is a “welcome development,” particularly with the ongoing pandemic in which senior citizens and those with comorbidities are urged to stay indoors.
“Ok na kaayo aron dili mi masagol kay jutay ra man pud mi mga senior citizen unya sa time sa election kanang mga luyahon na, maawahi jud. So maayo kini na lakang,” said Gujol.
Gujol noted that senior citizens, PWDs and pregnant women have special lanes during the elections but these tend to still have long queues.
Tagbilaran City PWD Affairs Office head Cleofe Polestico shared the same insight.
“Bisan pa og lahi og lane ang PWDs, taas jud gihapon. So mas nindot ng ngana na days before maka vote na,” she said.
On Tuesday, the lower chamber approved House Bill 9562, or An Act Providing for Early Voting by Qualified Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities in National and Local Election.
The measure was unanimously approved by lawmakers via a voting of 196-0 with no abstention on third and final reading.
Under this proposal, eligible senior citizens and PWDs can vote seven working days before Election Day at areas designated by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
However, those who wish to vote early still need to undergo a separate registration before they can avail of the benefit.
As of May 24, 2021, the Senate version of the measure is “consolidated/substituted in the committee report.”
There are 157,000 senior citizens in all 47 municipalities of Bohol and 11,758 in Tagbilaran City who are registered with the OSCA in Bohol and the city.
Meanwhile, there 1,200 PWDs in Tagbilaran City based on the PWDAO’s data. (A. Doydora)