Media practitioners nationwide will now have the opportunity to cast their votes, in absentia, after President Benigno S. Aquino III signed the Local Absentee Voting for Media Law, Malacañang announced Friday.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte told a press briefing the pertinent provisions of this new law shall apply to all members of the media and their respective technical and support staff who are usually busy covering the election day.
They, however, are only allowed to vote for national positions including the president, vice president, senators, and party list representatives, according to RA 10380.
"The Commission on Elections shall extend the right to vote under the local absentee voting system provided under existing laws and executive orders to members of media, media practitioners, including the technical and support staff, who are duly registered and who, on election day, may not be able to vote due to the performance of their functions in covering and reporting on the elections --- pjrovided, that they shall be allowed to vote only for the positions of President, Vice President, Senators, and Party-List Representative," it stated.
RA 10380 added the COMELEC shall, within 30 days upon the signing of the law, promulgate the implementing rules and regulations which shall include a system of accreditation and verification of the members of the media, media practitioners, the technical and support staff, who are qualified to avail of the local absentee voting.
With the implementation of this new law, Malacañang is encouraging everyone who works in the media industry to take advantage of the opportunity to exercise their right to vote ahead of the regular voting schedule.
"Marami ho tayong mga kasamahan sa media na ang hinaing nga po nila ay hindi sila nakakaboto dahil nga naman nagko-cover po sila usually kapag araw po ng eleksyon, so we encourage everybody to vote. So, finally, may pagkakataon na po kayo. Let's take advantage of the new law so you can exercise your right to vote," Valte said.
The initial funding for the new local absentee voting for the media shall be charged against the current budget or savings of the COMELEC and future expenses for the same exercise shall be incorporated in the annual General Appropriations Act.