President Benigno S. Aquino III signed last week Republic Act 10366, "An Act Authorizing the Commission on Elections to Establish Precincts Assigned to Accessible Polling Places Exclusively for Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens," the Palace announced Saturday.
The law, that addresses the concerns of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizen advocates, was signed by the President February 15, deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan on Saturday.
"Ang batas na ito will now require the registration, a record of Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens sa Comelec para malaman kung ano ang mga disability, kung may kailangang assistance para sa kanilang pagboto dahil kahit naman PWD at senior citizen sila, kailangang matulungan natin sila especially when it comes to voting," Valte said.
The new law also mandates the establishment of separate polling precints intended only for PWDs and senior citizens, she said. These voting centers must have assistive devices and personnel that will assist PWDs and senior citizens.
"Dapat ang ating balota merong reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and senior citizens," she said. "Siyempre kasama din dito 'yung assistance in the accomplishment of the ballots."
The PWDs and senior citizens will be assisted in filling the ballot by their relatives, either relative by consanguinity or affinity, within the fourth civil degree, or by the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).
The law also requires a sensitivity training program by the Comelec for those who will perform electoral duties including field officers, members of the BEI and accredited citizens' arms to familiarize themselves with the needs of PWDs and senior citizens.