33,409 PDLs to vote in Monday's national and local elections
A total of 33, 409 Persons Deprived of Liberty (PDL) under the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are expected to cast their votes in Monday's national and local elections.
This is the fifth time PDLs are allowed to vote, said BJMP spokesperson Jail Superintendent Xavier Solda.
Solda said Jail Director Allan Iral directed all units to ensure the zero-incident and orderly conduct of elections in off-site and onsite polling places during the 2022 National and Local Elections.
Solda said 30, 726 PDL will vote onsite and 2, 683 will vote offsite. He said 29,534 male PDL and 3,875 female PDL are qualified to avail of detainee voting this year.
"This is equivalent to 39.2 percent of the 131, 021 jail population in the 475 district, city, and municipal jails nationwide," he said.
Solda said the PDLs that are only allowed to vote for national positions like president, vice president, senators, and partylist will cast their votes from 6am to 2pm only.
"Among the jail facilities with the highest number of PDL voters this year are Cebu City Jail – male dormitory with 1,102 PDL; Talisay City Jail – male dormitory with 878 PDL; Lapu-lapu City Jail – male dormitory with 701 PDL; Antipolo City Jail – male dormitory with 576 PDL; and Bacoor City Jail – male dormitory with 534 PDL," he said.
On March 9, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) promulgated Resolution No. 10768 prescribing general instructions on PDL voting. The resolution states that PDL voting may be availed of by a PDL voter either through special polling established inside a jail facility or escorted voting in a regular polling place.
Solda said "only PDL voters who have been issued a court order allowing them to vote in the polling place where their precinct is assigned on the election day shall be escorted to vote."
"Upon reaching the polling place, the security escort, together with the PDL voter, shall inform the support staff or the Electoral Board member that the PDL will vote and request that the latter be placed in the express lane and be given priority to vote," he said."To secure the PDL voter, BJMP escorts may bring firearms inside the polling place. Said escorts and PDL shall leave the polling place once the latter has finished voting and immediately return to the jail facility without any diversions," he added.
Solda said "considering the strict implementation of COVID-19 protocols in jails, medical personnel shall be assigned at the entrance of all PDL-SPPs who shall check the temperature of PDL voters before going inside the PDL-SPP to vote."
"PDL voters with a temperature above 37.4 °C or exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 shall not be allowed to enter the PDL-SPP, but instead, shall be referred to an Isolation Polling Place (IPP) established inside the jail facility where he or she shall vote. If there is a clinic inside the jail facility, the IPP shall be established therein," he said. Robina Asido/DMS