Unfazed by health limits, PWDs, senior citizens voted in elections

MANILA—No matter what their age and health conditions are, senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD) were among the early voters at Claro M. Recto High School in Sampaloc, Manila, on Monday.

Most of them wanted to avoid overcrowding by mid-morning or near closing time, when many voters crowd the voting precints.

Accompanied by a relative, 67-year-old Generosa Lo said it is her responsibility to choose the country’s next leader who has a heart for the elderly.

“Maayos naman ang naging pagboto ko hindi ako masyadong matagal kasi inuuna nila ang mga senior. [The voting process was okay and it didn’t take me long because they prioritized senior citizens],” she told the Philippine News Agency after casting her ballot on the third floor.

Lo said she has never missed any elections and will continue doing so as long as she has the strength to go to the voting place.

“Sayang kahit isang boto lang ako. Dapat makapili ng tamang lider, ’yung may malasakit sa mga katulad ko na matatanda [My vote is valuable even if it counts for just one vote. We should choose the right leader, a person who sincerely cares for old people like me],” she said.

Nelson Ramirez, 57, a blind voter, traveled by public transportation from Caloocan City to Manila, where he and his wife are registered.

He said they waited for 30 minutes and were assisted the rest of the way.

“Pinag-isipan kong mabuti ‘yung binoto ko. Pinili ko siya kasi nakakatulong [I thought hard before voting. I chose the candidate who can help],” he said, adding that they left their house at 5:30 a.m.

His wife, Miriam, 59, said they do not yet have the documents needed to transfer their registration to Caloocan City.

“Sa mga kabataan, dapat bumoto sila kasi mas para sa kanila na ito. Kami matanda na, konti na lang ang itatagal namin [To the youth, they should vote. This is for them more than for us. We are old and we do not have much time left],” Ramirez said.

Meanwhile, after logging zero Covid-19 cases in the last three days, Davao City recorded a single infection on Wednesday that is being attributed to people going out to vote in the May 9 elections.

“Fortunately, we have recorded zero positive cases since May 8 but today, May 11, we recorded one,” said Dr. Michelle Schlosser, the Davao City Covid-19 Task Force spokesperson, over a radio interview.

Schlosser said they are bracing for a possible increase in Covid-19 detection under the incubation period of two weeks.

The detected infection is from the swabbed individuals who manifested Covid-19 symptoms, including those who had travel schedules, subjected to detention, and patients and visitors of hospitals.

Schlosser said the single Covid-19 infection could have been caused by the throngs of people rushing by the thousands to vote during the Monday elections, which she described as a “super-spreader event.”

Schlosser reiterated that residents should remain cautious and take health precautions, even as she cited low turnout for booster shots in the city.

“We still need to protect ourselves with proper wearing of face masks and acquiring booster shots. We have the good vaccine brands at our disposal,” she said.

In a related development, a risk assessment map on the impact of the Covid-19 issued on May 7 indicated that all the 182 barangays are now under minimal risk, the lowest in the city’s risk classification.

Last week, the village of Maa was identified as a moderate risk area while A. Angliongto Sr., Talomo Proper, and Tibungco were classified as low-risk barangays.

Schlosser said deputized officers and the Davao City Police Office are continuously enforcing the city’s face mask ordinance.

An individual apprehended for not wearing a face mask will be fined P500 for the first offense; P2,000 for a second offense; and P5,000 or one-month imprisonment for the third offense.

Failure to pay the fines three to five days after the issuance of citation tickets will result in the filing of cases in court.

Authorities have earlier processed charges against 2,000 individuals who neglected their citation tickets for violating the face mask ordinance. PNA