By Leslie Ann Aquino
Members of the vulnerable sectors will be given special attention in the upcoming voter registration.
The Commission on Elections said a special satellite registration will be conducted for the youth, senior citizens (SC), women, persons deprived of liberty (PDL), persons with disabilities (PWD), and members of indigenous peoples (IPs), indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) and other vulnerable sectors to enable their full and effective participation in the elections on an equal basis with others.
Election officers nationwide were mandated by the poll body to coordinate with concerned non-government organization networks empowering PWDs, women and SCs, and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) or its affiliate organizations in their locality for the conduct of the activity.
Express lanes will also be provided for PWDs, SCs and pregnant applicants at the Office of the Election Officer or any satellite registration site where they are not the only registrants.
During the registration period which will be from August 1 to September 3, PWDs, SCs and members of IPs and ICCs may apply for registration or update their existing registration records.
The Comelec said PWD or illiterate person or member of IPs/ICCs may be assisted in the preparation of their application form by the election officer, any member of an accredited citizen’s arm, a relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or any person of his/her confidence living in the same household.
A supplementary form shall be accomplished wherein PWDs and SCs will indicate their willingness to vote in the precincts assigned in accessible polling places (APPs), while members of IPs/ICCs shall indicate his/her tribe or community.
In case of members of IPs/ICCs who may be lacking government IDs, the Comelec said they may present their Certificate of Confirmation issued by the NCIP as a valid identification document to the registration team.
A gender-sensitive registration process shall be observed by giving full access to the registration processes of women who care for small children, and by encouraging the local government units to open their Day Care Centers for use as holding areas for children of registrants on registration days.
For the registration of PDLs in detention centers/jails, those who shall be 18 years of age on Election Day and/or are committed inside the detention centers for at least six months immediately preceding Election Day may register as a voter.
Under existing jurisprudence, PDLs may only vote for national positions. But they may register during the upcoming registration period for purposes of the national and local elections come May 2020.