Business Mirror : Novel voters list-up scheme for PWDs, youth launched

News & Interviews
16 August 2021

By RODERICK ABAD | Business Mirror

ANONPARTISAN campaign will officially kick off on Monday to provide free transportation for around 1,000 to 2,000 Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and the underprivileged until the end of voter registration period next month.

During their webinar last Friday, Institute for Policy, Strategy, & Developmental Studies, Inc. (IPSDI) President Elmer Cruz told reporters that the nationwide initiative called #STRONGERtogether will just initially roll out to General Santos City and northern parts of Cebu.

He said that they cannot mobilize it yet to Metro Manila until they “come up with a team who can do it” in areas where Covid-19 cases are not that high and the registrants can move smoothly.

The campaign’s offline component will provide free rides to the beneficiaries from their homes to their respective voter registration sites and, then, bring them back to their houses until the voter registration deadline on September 30.

Because of their limited resources, Cruz said they are reaching out to potential partners from the private sector who can donate to this project or are willing to work with them to help the PWDs and the needy to claim their rights to vote.

According to him, they can actually conduct it on their own, especially if they have also collaborators within their localities.

“They can do it independently. We encourage it…even without having to ask permission or coordinate with us,” he explained.

Meanwhile, the online aspect of #STRONGERtogether appeals to young voters to register in exchange for access to the organization’s Facebook group that offers job, scholarship, mentorship, games and prizes, and training opportunities.

Cruz revealed that they were surprised that many have volunteered themselves to become mentors within the group since they opened this online platform more than two weeks ago.

Given such positive response to their campaign, he assured prospective partners that their assistance “can go a long way” because all the programs of IPSDI are “very sustainable.”

#STRONGERtogether is made possible with Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Inc. (TWHI).

“As we get closer to the end of voter registration and move, transition to preparing for the elections themselves in May 9, 2022, we further see that the successful conduct of the elections and all pre-election activities will rely extensively on everyone pulling their efforts,” Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said in mixed Filipino and English. “The Comelec is happy that we have this kind of initiative that will help the PWDs, specifically the convenience this campaign can bring them.”

“We hope, especially here in Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, that through this partnership with IPSDI there will be a good way for differently-abled persons to vote,” TWHI Administrative Manager Ramon Apilado added.

As of August 13—45 days left before the end of voters’s registration—Comelec has already registered 5,727,223 new voters.