The May 9 elections once again showed that the exercise of suffrage in the Philippines is a family affair.
Many went to the polling precincts with other family members. Several of the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWD) were accompanied by younger members of the family.
It showed the eagerness of Filipinos to participate in the electoral process despite physical challenges.
For the 2022 elections, the Commission on Elections’ list of registered voters showed 10, 248, 073 belonging to the 60 years and above age group and 420,267 PWDs.
The Comelec, in compliance with the constitutional guarantee to enable PWDs to exercise their right to suffrage, issued guidelines to ensure that “voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible, and easy to understand and use, and that reasonable accommodation shall be granted to PWD and SC voters.”
But some didn’t have a pleasant experience on Election Day. Rebecca Aquino, 85, was accompanied by a family member when she went to Gregoria de Jesus Elementary School in Caloocan City where she used to vote in previous elections. This year, however, her name was not in the voters’ list.
Ronald Quinto, a 27-year-old PWD, proudly showed the indelible ink on his finger after casting his vote at Maria Clara High School in Caloocan City. He said more personnel are needed to assist PWDs and senior citizens to shorten the waiting time in the holding room.
The images captured by photojournalists Vincent Go and Luis Liwanag showed the earnest desire of the elderly and PWDs to participate in the country’s democratic process and how Filipinos value love and care for members of our society who most need them.