Senior citizens, PWDs hit ‘lack’ of accessibility support staff in precincts

By: Morexette Marie Erram - CDN Digital Multi-Media Reporter | October 30,2023 - 01:49 PM

seniors pwds

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens are being assisted as they wait for their turn to vote in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on Monday, October 30.   | Morexette Marie Erram

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) who flocked to the Cebu City Central Elementary School to cast their votes decry the apparent lack of “accessibility support staff” who would guide and help them in casting their ballots.

While regular voters found Monday’s Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections a lot easier, senior citizens and PWDs like Robin Vaño Jr., a retired firefighter, find the process tedious and exhausting.

Several senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Cebu City Central Elementary School, particularly those who voted in precincts all by themselves, complained of waiting for several hours before they could vote.

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The problem looked like the number of Election Accessibility Polling Place (EAPP) Support Staff was insufficient to accommodate voters like Vaño who went to cast his ballot without an accompanying adult.

Cebu City Central Elementary School hosts a total of 19,300 voters, including PWDs, seniors, and pregnant women, from five barangays. These are barangays Ermita, Cogon-Ramos, Kalubihan, Kamagayan, and San Antonio.


However, the school only has six EAPP Support Staff.

Nancy Manguilimotan, the principal and election supervisor official at the school, said they were surprised to see a large turnout of senior citizens and PWDs like Vaño who needed assistance.

Initially, all voters identified as PWDs, pregnant women, and senior citizens should vote on the school’s ground floor only.

“But some of the names still remain in precincts located on the school’s upper floors. And we are not allowed to take their ballot out of the precincts,” said Manguilimotan in Cebuano.

Cebu City Central Elementary School is a five-storey building and one of the largest voting centers in the city.

“That is why we have the EAPP Support Staff who will assist them in going up and then going down,” she added.

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According to Vaño, he arrived at Cebu City Central Elementary School from his residence in Brgy. Ermita at 7 a.m. with the assistance of barangay tanods.

“When I came here, they (election staff) asked me for my ID and told me to wait here (waiting area)… Sometimes, it’s disheartening to see that others who arrived later than me got to vote first,” he said in Cebuano.

Sought for their comments, Manguilimotan asked voters in the waiting area such as Vaño to extend their patience.
She also assured them that all of them can cast their ballots before the 3 p.m. cut-off.

“As long as you’re already in the waiting area, you can vote. We’re just asking them to extend their patience as we only have six EAPP staff,” said Manguilimotan.   /rcg


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TAGS: Barangay Elections, BSKE, Cebu City, PWDs, senior citizens, SK Elections

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