MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill providing for early voting of qualified senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Under House Bill No. 5661, qualified senior citizens and PWDs may vote seven days ahead of the national and local elections.
"This bill seeks to allow persons with disabilities and senior citizens to vote under the local absentee voting system," House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said in a statement.
The chamber unanimously approved the bill on May 29.
Local absentee voters are those tasked to be on duty on election day such as members of the media, officers of the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines, and government workers.
If signed into law, the measure would mandate the conduct of a nationwide voter registration for senior citizens and PWDs who wish to vote ahead of the scheduled polls.
The registration system will be designed by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) in partnership with local government units, the National Council for Disability Affairs, the Commission on Human Rights, the Department of Health, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The chamber said the COMELEC "shall ensure the full implementation" of the measure, "such that polling places for senior citizens and PWDs are safe, highly accessible and fitted with the necessary communication, visual and physical aids, and other forms of assistance where senior citizens and PWDs may be able to cast their votes with ease."
It would also mandate the polling body to "mount an intensive information campaign on early voting for qualified senior citizens and PWDs."