Vice President Jejomar C. Binay today lauded the Commission on Elections for its efforts at making polling precincts more accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens, in preparation for the upcoming 2013 midterm elections.

“I am happy to acknowledge that the Comelec is ensuring that our Filipino PWDs and eldery will be able to vote in the 2013 elections. The right to vote is a basic human right which everyone should enjoy and uphold,” Binay said.

The Vice President stressed the need to fully implement the two resolutions for PWDs and senior citizens which the Comelec has passed last year.

Section 10 of Comelec Resolution No. 9149 states that “The office of the EO shall provide during the registration period express lane and give priority/preferential treatment to persons with disabilities, elderly, detainees and pregnant applicants.”

Resolution 9220 meanwhile provides that “a PWD who cannot by himself/herself accomplish an application for registration, shall be assisted by the election officer in the preparation of his/her application form, or by any member of the Citizen’s arm, or a relative within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, or if he/she has none present, by any person of his/her confidence who belongs to the same household.”

Binay also expressed support for Comelec’s plan to make the information on voting districs and precincts available to PWDs and senior citizens through the Internet, saying this would minimize the incovenience that they would have to go through in order to know where they will be voting.

The Vice President also urged the immediate passage of House Bill 5509 or the Polling Center Accessibility Act of 2011 which seeks to mandate that the ground-floor rooms near the entrance to polling precincts be set aside for PWDs, elderly, and pregnant women voters, which is pending before the Senate after its approval on its second reading at the Lower House in December.

According to the Vice President, “It is government’s duty to guarantee that every citizen’s basic democratic rights are exercised, and I wish to assure the PWD and senior citizens sector, as well as other disadvantaged groups that we in government are doing our best so that you may participate actively in the State’s processes.”

“Hopefully, through legislation and a sincere effort to effectively implement the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, our PWDs, and every other Filipino, will eventually be fully included in our nation’s ordinary and political life,” Binay said.