For a wheelchair-bound senior citizen and a totally blind man, neither age nor disability can prevent them from exercising their right to vote.
Federico Jose, 70, and John Michael Malan, 23, were among the first to cast their votes at the Sta. Teresa Elementary School in Taguig on May 13.
Senior citizens who came early to exercise their right of suffrage said the express lane established in the polling precincts were very helpful for them.
Eden Enriquez, 85, of Barangay Mag-aba in Pandan town, Antique, said the express lanes spared them from waiting for hours.
“The express lane is of much help to us,” she said.
Jose got teary-eyed as told the Philippine News Agency his being able to exercise his right “so my voice will be heard.”
“I don’t care if it won’t matter, but I am going out now to do my citizen’s duty and be heard,” Jose said.
Jose, who has been a Taguig resident since 1970, still hopes for change in the country and that his vote will be a factor for this to happen.
As he stepped into the school grounds, Jose was immediately assisted by an election volunteer and ushered to the courtesy lane room at the school’s ground level, aimed at making Monday’s polls convenient for people with special needs like senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant women and those with children.
On the other hand, Malan is stepping forward “to make sure that I help the deserving people get the post.”
Assisted by his sister, the Bagumbayan Village vice president for persons with disability chooses the names to shade as his sister mentions them.
Like Jose, Malan appreciated the PWD-friendly election process, where “all possible assistance were extended to us.”
Per Commission on Election data, more than 61 million are expected to go out to exercise their right to vote on May 13.
Some 18 million are from the youth sector, while 5.8 million are 60 and above.