Bill allows media to vote early during elections

Media practitioners in the country may soon be allowed to vote in advance during elections.

Under House Bill 1510 principally authored by Rep. Marcelino Teodoro (1st district, Marikina City), media outfits are mandated to submit to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the names of their respective qualified media members who wish to avail of early voting at least 30 days before the election.

Teodoro said qualified members of media will be allowed to vote during office hours within seven working days before Election Day at the Office of the Municipal or City election registrar where they are

“A big number of mediamen are not exercising their freedom of suffrage because many of them are busy with their assigned jobs during elections,” according to Teodoro.

“This bill provides for early voting to qualified members of the media particularly those who will be deployed to cover the conduct of elections in different parts of the country on Election Day,” Teodoro

A similar measure was filed by Bayan Muna Reps. Teodoro Casiño and Neri  Colmenares, Gabriela Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emerciana De Jesus and Reps. Rafael Mariano (Party-list, Anakpawis), Raymond
Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) and Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers) during the 14th Congress.

“During critical times of elections, media practitioners serve both as watchdogs and help desks, revealing images of election fraud and bribery, facilitating reports of violence and inefficiency,” said
Casiño, author of House Bill 1960.

“However, it is their own public service that hinders them from exercising their right to vote. Often, these media practitioners are stationed in different parts of the country to closely monitor election events,” Casino pointed out.

Casino said the House of Representatives approved the bill on third reading in the 14th Congress.  “However, Congress failed to pass the final version of the bill.  We are hoping that this measure will be given priority under the new Congress,” he said. D’Jay Lazaro

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