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Enabling PWD Participation in Elections: The Case for the Philippines

With the support of civil society organizations and international development partners, the persons with disability (PWD) sector successfully lobbied for the passage of Republic Act No. 10366, otherwise known as the Accessible Polling Places Act of 2013. However, Philippine elections are still impaired, given the complaints about insufficient designated spaces to make it easy for PWDs to vote. In the recent polls, PWD voters had been disenfranchised because election precincts lacked access and volunteers to assist them. The registration process was also cumbersome, leading to PWDs not registering as such and missing out on services dedicated to them, particularly the use of accessible polling places (APPs). This paper, therefore, argues for a significant review and for the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to improve its implementation of the system. Furthermore, the government and civil society should continuously support these initiatives. It is hoped that political participation among PWDs would be improved as a result.


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