By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) conducted a voting simulation for Persons with Disability in Quezon City, Thursday.
It was the first time that the poll body conducted a voting simulation for PWDs.
“This is the first time that we have this voting simulation for PWDs but it doesn’t mean that this is only the first that we are making an effort for them. If you remember in the past we rolled out the Emergency Accessible Polling Place,” Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez said in an interview at the Toro Hills Elementary School.
“The reason we are doing this now is we want to further improve what we saw in 2019. Our EAPP was very successful in terms of cutting down the problem on inaccessibility. But of course there is still room for improvement which is what this is all about,” he added.
According to Jimenez, the event was also a “data gathering” for them which was also echoed by Assistant Regional Election Director in NCR, Atty. Jovencio Balanquit.
“Whatever their suggestions, comments, or recommendations in the voting procedure that they will experience, it would probably be considered by the Commission in the next elections,” said Balanquit.
In the assessment form being given to participants, they were asked to answer YES or NO to the following: Is the voting center accessible to you; is the voting center responsive to your needs; did you encounter any problem with the VCM; did you have difficulty shading the oval in your ballot; were you guided by the electoral board; do you prefer voting personally; have you availed of the accessible polling place in the 2019 elections and did you encounter difficulty in communicating.
A space was also provided in the form for participants to give their suggestions and recommendations.
“After this, we will consolidate the data. We will then make recommendations to finalize the report to the Committee for PWDs,” Balanquit said.
He thanked all those who participated in the event.
“This simulation is intended for them. Without their active involvement or participation, this will not be a success,” said Balanquit.