Casiño: Polling centers should be senior citizen-friendly

MAKLILA, North Cotabato – Makabayan senate bet Teddy Casiño today said that “the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) can and shall best designate senior citizen-friendly polling centers to aid our elderly to participate in the elections more efficiently starting next year.”

“As primary author of House Bill 4048 or An Act Mandating the Use of Ground-Floor Polling Places for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and Senior Citizens, we are mandating the Comelec to designate special precincts for voters who are PWDs and Senior Citizens that are on the ground floor and nearer to the entrances of the schools that host the precincts. In fact, the House has approved this with substitute House Bill 5509 to include expectant mothers in the proposed law last December 13, 2011. It is still pending in the Senate as of today,” Casiño said.

The progressive senate candidate also said that “the Comelec with its biometrics system can easily determine the number of senior citizens, PWDs and pregnant voters and assign the first-floor classrooms closest to the entrance of our public schools as their polling precincts.”

“I hope the Senate acts on our bill so that the Comelec can implement these friendly polling places for our senior citizen, PWD and pregnant voters starting 2013,” Casiño said.

Free government hospitalization for indigent seniors

Casiño, a three-term party-list representative of Bayan Muna, will continue to pursue free government hospitalization for indigent senior citizens and in fact has House Bill 4712 titled An Act Amending Section 4 (E) of Republic Act 7432, otherwise known as the Senior Citizens Act of 1992, As Amended, Granting Free Hospitalization to Indigent Senior Citizens in any Government Hospital.

“there is a felt need to afford our senior citizens additional and better benefits than what are presently provided under our present laws, particularly during the times when their health starts to fail, yet they could no longer provide for themselves ,” Casiño said.

Casiño cited census data that the Philippines has an increasing senior citizen population, from 3.7 million or 5.4 percent of the population in 1995, to 5.8 million or 6.5 percent of the population as of 2010.

“It would only be right for government to amend the Senior Citizens Act of 1992 (Republic Act 7432) to grant free hospitalization and confinement for indigent senior citizen patients, subject to guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health, the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System. Our senior citizens have given the best of their lives to society and those who are poor should get this kind of government support. I hope to continue pushing for this kind of law in Congress and hopefully in the Senate with the help of our nation’s senior citizens,” Casiño said.

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