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Comelec likely to decide on mall voting in 10 days — Chairman


Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista on Monday said the poll body's en banc will issue a decision on mall voting within the next two weeks.

He said that the issue on mall voting will be part of the agenda on Tuesday's Comelec en banc meeting.

Earlier, Bautista said that mall voting was approved "in principle."

The poll body conducted its second public consultation on Monday afternoon, with representatives from the sectors of persons with disability (PWDs) and senior citizens, as well as Comelec officers from various regions and provinces.

Bautista told stakeholders that mall partners have been cooperative with the owners of about 100 malls who expressed their willingness to participate in the initiative.

He said 500,000 to 700,000 voters can be accommodated in the malls and that priority will be given to PWDs and senior citizens.

Bautista said they submitted position papers to Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Automated Election System, who opposed the idea.

"Nandito rin naman kayo nu'ng nakaraang hearing, 'yung mga batikang abogado—sina Atty. (Romulo) Macalintal, si Atty. (Bernadette) Sardillo ng Liberal (Party), si Atty. George Garcia ni Sen. (Grace) Poe—lahat nagsabi wala silang nakikitang legal issue," he said.

He added: "Sa aking palagay ang dapat focus natin is hindi na sa legal kundi sa kung ito'y makakabuti sa ating mga botante. Isa sa aming mga pakay ngayon sa Comelec ay maghanap ng iba't ibang paraan para maisaayos ang pagboto.?"

"Talagang ngayon pahirapan talaga ang pagboto, Lalo na sa public schools na mataas, maraming palapag hindi accessible sa mga PWDs. So ang maganda dito sa panukalang mall voting, kung may mga maililipat tayo sa mga malls, makaka-decongest din ito ng ating public schools."

Meanwhile, National Council on Disability Affairs Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga called on election officers to be more creative in providing access to PWDs.

"Wag po nating isentro sa mall voting ang solusyon para maging accessible ang mga polling places... Ang lahat po ng election officers, may kaniya-kaniyang jurisdiction sa buong Pilipinas, at hindi po lahat ng bayan ay may mall. Baka po makalimutan ng mga election officers na kapag walang mall, hindi na sila gagawa ng paraan para magkaroon ng polling places," she said. —BAP, GMA News

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