indentIn a bid to enhance the electoral process by allowing early voting for national and local elections, Diwa Party-list Representative Emmeline Y. Aglipay filed House Bill # 5120, thereby removing barriers that have otherwise hindered voters to exercise their right of suffrage.

indentThe bill recognizes the fact that a significant number of the country’s workers, such as doctors, nurses, and security guards, are unable to vote on election day because they have to report for work.

indent“Many businesses continue to operate on election day, and few employees are in the position to turn down shifts, especially those whose work involves a degree of public interest. As a result, many of these employees are unable to vote, through no fault of their own,” said Congresswoman Aglipay. She represents the Democratic Independent Workers Association Party-list, which stands on a platform that protects the plight of the Filipino workingman.

indentThe bill also provides a system of qualified early voting, which grants employees more flexibility in balancing their economic and civil duties.

indentIn discussing the specifics of the bill, Congresswoman Aglipay stated that the employers and the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) have their respective obligations to the qualified early voters.

indentShe explained that a qualified early voter is any registered voter who is required by his employer to work on election day, whose name is included in the Qualified List of Potential Employee Early Voters, and is not otherwise disqualified from exercising his/her right to vote.

indentShe said that an employer who intends to require any of its employees to report for work on election day shall submit to the COMELEC a list of potential early voters sixty (60) days before election day.

indentThe bill also provides that qualified early voters can take a leave of absence of at least one (1) day with pay as long as they notify their employers of their intent to vote at least one week before the early voting day.

indentFor its part, the COMELEC is required by the Aglipay-sponsored bill to determine and publicize the date of the early voting day and the locations where voters may cast their votes, 45 days before election day.

indentCOMELEC representatives are likewise required to have an accurate list of the qualified early voters within the jurisdiction of their respective polling locations.