Malacañang on Tuesday defended the government-set restrictions on senior citizens’ movement amid the Covid-19 pandemic after a petition filed before the Supreme Court labeled the guidelines “illegal and unconstitutional.”

“Naninindigan po ang IATF na iyong prohibition po sa galaw ng mga seniors is borne by science and medicine. Sa buong daigdig po, ang mga tinatamaan at namamatay sa Covid-19 ay ang mga seniors at mayroong comorbidities, and that is a scientific fact,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque told reporters.

On Sept. 24, lawyer Eugenio Insigne submitted a petition to remove the movement ban on senior citizens from the country’s community quarantine guidelines.

Insigne, a retired government official, said elderly people under isolation suffered from poor mental health and human rights violations and become more vulnerable to Covid-19.

Roque asserted that the government’s restrictions were imposed to protect Filipinos.

“To the petitioner, ito pong pagbabawal sa inyong movement outside of your residence except for work and to procure necessities is for your own benefit. It is to protect your lives amidst the proven fact po na ang mga namamatay sa Covid-19, karamihan po, senior citizens,” he said.

The inter-agency task force assigned on Covid-19 prohibits people aged 21 below and above 60, pregnant women and those with comorbidities from leaving their houses.

Age restrictions led to low voter registration turnout

In a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, Commission on Elections spokesman James Jimenez revealed that only about 250,000 voters have registered for the 2022 national and local polls.

The total was still far from the projected number of four million.

“Medyo mababa po ang numbers na nakikita natin and that is expected dahil nga medyo kasagsagan pa tayo ng pandemya… this is expected, we know that talagang medyo mabagal ang dating ng mga tao sa ngayon, but we expect it to pick up,” he said.

San Juan City Mayor Francis Zamora said voters interested in registering but fall under the prohibited age brackets have to await guidelines allowing them to go out and register.

“Right now there are still no guidelines changing the age restriction, so everyone who’s 21 and below or 60 and above cannot go out except if you will exercise, or you have a medical emergency,” Zamora said in an interview over ANC.

Voter registration nationwide resumed last Sept. 1 for areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ. It will go on until Sept. 30, 2021. John Ezekiel J. Hirro