Malacañang announced on Wednesday (April 27) that President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino has declared May 9 as a special non-working holiday to allow the people to participate in the national elections.
In a report from ABS-CBN News, Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said the President signed on Monday Proclamation No. 1254 "declaring May 09, 2016 as a Special Public (Non-Working) Holiday throughout the country to enable the entire citizenry to participate in the national elections and to properly exercise their right of suffrage."
Based on available government data, more than 50 million voters are expected to vote for the next national and local leaders this coming elections.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) nixed the proposal to use malls as precincts, reversing its earlier decision.
In an interview with ANC, Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said: “The interpretation is whether or not the approval and the transfer should have happened 45 days before the elections. What we discussed was the approval happened on March 10 which was 60 days before the elections but the other [commissioners] were saying that the precincts should have been transferred already to the malls. But when you come to think of it, the transfer happens on Election Day itself.”
“We have to move on,” he added.
Commissioners Rowena Guanzon and Christian Robert Lim were reported to have opposed the proposal, saying that the transfer of polling precincts 45 days before the elections is a violation of the Omnibus Election Code.
The proposal was aimed at helping Persons with Disabilities (PWD) and senior citizens cast their votes.
Bautista apologized to those who backed the proposal, especially to those who will be affected by the change in ruling.
“I really want to apologize to the voters who supported this innovation especially our senior citizens and PWDs. The mall voting would have been easier for them to exercise their right to suffrage. This is an idea whose time has not yet come and we’ll try again in 2019,” he said.