MANILA -- Persons with disabilities will serve as poll watchers for the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting in the May 13 elections.
PPCRV chairperson Henrietta de Villa said they tapped the PWDs to assist voters in the coming polls to also encourage other PWDs to exercise their right to suffrage.
She noted that if PWDs see other PWDs in polling centers they will be inspired to participate since some of them are often disenfranchised because they are too shy to vote.
"That's why we are giving them the space for poll watching so they'll realized that they can contribute something to CHAMP (Clean, Honest, Accurate, Meaningful and Peaceful) elections," De Villa added.
She added that the PWD volunteers will be assigned in polling places with a big number of registered PWDs.
However, she said that they have yet to decide on the number of PWDs that will be deployed on Election Day as they are still coordinating with the different parishes and groups.
But, De Villa said that they will deploy 320,000 to 350,000 volunteers on May 13.
Aside from being shy to vote, another reason why some PWDs failed to participate during elections is the inaccessibility of polling centers, but, the PPCRV chairperson said that will not be a problem in this month’s polls since the Commission on Elections has already resolved this predicament.
Last year, the Comelec, through Resolution 9485, established accessible polling places and provide guidelines for assisting PWDs during elections.
Under the ruling, the accessible polling places for PWDs will be located at the ground floor of the voting center. It should be spacious enough to accommodate more than 10 PWD voters, and should consider "the mobility requirements of PWDs particularly those who are wheelchair users."
"Although as much as possible we want to have a PWD poll watcher in every voters assistance desk if we cannot get as much volunteers at least we will have them in the 60 voting centers with large concentration of PWD registered voters De Villa said."
There were about 800,000 PWD registered voters in previous polls.*PNA
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