MANILA – An official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday supported a bill seeking to allow members of vulnerable sector, particularly senior citizens, to cast their votes by mail.
“Yes I agree. I hope Congress can pass a law on voting by mail for all voters especially senior citizens, person with disabilities (PWDs), pregnant women and Indigenous People,” Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said in an interview.
She added that a similar measure should also be filed before the Senate.
“I hope that Senator Imee Marcos will author a similar bill so that it can move faster. If the President (Rodrigo Duterte) certifies it as urgent, it can be passed this year and a budget for preparations by Comelec can be provided for in 2021. We need a year to prepare,” she said.
Guanzon added that in case the law is passed, she recommended that they can begin in capital cities or in areas where there are many voters.
“But the efficiency of our Philippine postal system must be ensured by PhilPost. Perhaps we can start in capital cities and the National Capital Region, Cavite, Laguna, Negros Occidental. The top five provinces in terms of voting populations,” she said.
Guanzon said the measure is important especially now that the country is in the midst of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“Voting by mail will ensure voters’ access to elections with less risk of contamination during a pandemic. (South) Korea has been doing voting by mail successfully for several national elections.”
Marikina 2nd District Representative Stella Quimbo has filed House Bill 7572 seeking seniors to vote by mail in the 2022 national elections.
She said the measure aims to protect senior citizens from the pandemic. (PNA)