By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has asked Philippine embassies, posts, consular offices, and all other offices which conduct registration and voting for overseas voting, to establish express lanes, accessibility ramps, and day care centers.
In Resolution No. 10634, the poll body said this is to make the registration process more accessible to persons with disability (PWD), senior citizens, pregnant women, and those with small children.
“… In order to encourage women without having to worry about their small children, as well as persons with disability, and senior citizens to register and vote, the Commission en banc resolves to request all embassies and posts conducting continuing registration for overseas voting for the May 2022 elections to be sensitive and responsive to the needs of PWDs, senior citizens, and gender,” the resolution reads.
The Comelec particularly requested for the provision of express lanes, waiting areas with seats, ramps, breastfeeding rooms, and other services that may be needed by senior citizens, pregnant women, women with infants, and PWDs.
The poll body also asked Philippine posts abroad to open day care facilities during registration hours in order to allow their parents to register as overseas voters while entrusting their children to accredited personnel, with healthy food and drinks to be provided.
The Comelec said the request is in accordance with the provisions of the Magna Carta for Women, Accessible Polling Places for PWDs and Seniors Law, and Mobility of Disabled Persons Act.
“It is part of the vision [and] mission of the Comelec’s strategic plan for 2017-2022…to be gender responsive, convenient, inclusive, and accessible to members of the vulnerable sector,” it said.
Last Dec. 16, the Comelec resumed the overseas voter registration for the May 2022 polls. It will run until Sept. 30, 2021.