Voter listup cancellation shows PWDs not a priority, say PWD groups

 Various groups of persons with disabilities (PWDs) based in Mindanao have criticized the Commission on Elections’ decision to cancel the planned special voter registrations for this sector this month.

The cancellation shows how the PWD sector stands with the administration of President Benigno Aquino in terms of priority, said Milagros Maquiling, president of the Cagayan de Oro Federation of PWDs Association (Cafedpa).

“We are disappointed that our special registration is postponed for the second time. Wala mahatagan og importance ang sector (Our sector was not given importance),” she said. Cafedpa is one of the largest federations of PWD organizations in Cagayan de Oro City, counting at least 18 member-organizations with more than a thousand individual members, including children with disability.

The country marks the 34th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPR) on July 17 to 23 with the theme “Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities in Economic Development.”  Last year, the National PWD Registration Week was held on NDPR Week.

This is the second time the PWD voter registration has been postponed in Cagayan de Oro. While most cities and towns in Mindanao conducted special registrations for PWDs last April, Cagayan de Oro “did not receive a directive to hold the special registration for PWDs only in April,” city election officer Aleli Dayu-Ramirez said.

She cited being “understaffed” and the “lack of computers” as reasons for not holding special registrations then but added that special registrations would be held at SM City in Masterson Drive, Upper Carmen and Limketkai Mall in Lapasan Highway in July “because it is the month where they (PWDs) are more organized and are usually more active.”

Comelec Resolution No. 9443 suspended all ongoing registrations from June 25 to July 31 to give priority to the voter registration scheduled in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao from July 9 to