Being able to study in an environment that allows persons with disabilities (PWDs) study alongside their non-PWD counterparts would mean nothing if PWDs wouldn’t even be able to exercise their right: their right to suffrage.
Yet “there were still some cases where PWDs go home without casting their votes due to inaccessibility of some polling areas or lack of assistance from election board officers,” commented Dr. Maureen Mata from the Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP) in a report.
This has been evident during the 2018 barangay elections.
“May kakulangan po talaga sa Comelec. Kulang na kulang po. Parang nakikita namin, 1 percent of the 100 percent that we are expecting from the government agency para ma-implement ‘yung mga patakaran,” she added.
As per the Comelec’s initial data, 270,082 PWDs and senior citizens registered to vote in 6,709 accessible clustered precincts in all regions nationwide, except for the Ilocos Region.
There are also 867 emergency accessible polling places (EAPPs) in NCR, CAR, Regions IV-A, IV-B, V, VII, and VII.
“Ang karapatan ng pagboto ay hindi magiging totoo habang ang mga magaaral na may kapansanan ay nakikipag-laban araw-araw sa isang kapaligiran na hindi siya kasali.” ~Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga
Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the ABS-CBN News
Note: During the 2016 national elections, an act that authorized Comelec to establish accessible polling places (APPs) for PWDs and senior citizens– Republic Act 10366–was implemented. It led PWD groups to dub the said election as the “first disability-inclusive elections in the history of the Philippines.”