MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) is all set
for the Oct. 25 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) Elections after
conducting an orientation to public school teachers who will again serve
as chairmen and members of the Board of Election Tellers (BET).
In partnership with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), DepEd
oriented the teachers on COMELEC General Instructions for the BETs and
Barangay Board of Canvassers given by COMELEC Personnel Department
Director Adolfo Ibañez.
Being one of the government agencies actively involved in the
country’s elections, DepEd has already prepared its administrative and
legal officers as well as its other personnel in their duties and
responsibilities in the DepEd central, regional, and division election
Education Secretary Armin Luistro said that the local election once
again called DepEd and COMELEC to an election duty to solidify the
foundation of the democratic society. “This is an important political
exercise because our law gives so much power to our barangay and to our
youth. It is therefore important that we also give this election a very
Undersecretary Alberto Muyot who leads the department on matters
related to the coming elections said that the Barangay and SK Elections
are critical to the country’s drive for greater stability and
accelerated economic growth. “Its success depends to a significant
extent on how well we will carry out the critical tasks that have
entrusted to DepEd.”
To assist in the local elections, DepEd will set up an Election Task
Force Operation Center which will be established in the Bulwagan ng
Karunungan, DepEd Complex, Meralco Avenue, Pasig City starting 1p.m. of
October 24 and ends on 12 noon of Oct. 26.
The center is in line with DepEd’s Memorandum 449 series 2010 which
aims to complement the other government agencies’ effort for an honest,
orderly, and peaceful election.
Muyot said that the operations hub will mainly monitor the conduct of
the elections. “This will ensure that teachers are provided with and/or
referred to adequate information, technical, and legal assistance in
the course of the performance of their duties,” he explained.
The Center, which will be head by Undersecretaries Muyot and Rizalino
Rivera, will also serve as DepEd’s institutional link to volunteer
organizations and individuals in order to provide close horizontal and
vertical coordination among DepEd, Comelec, and partner agencies
involved in elections.
Public school teachers on
Wednesday trooped to Malacanang to formally request President Aquino and
the budget department to provide necessary funds to meet the demands of
the teachers who will sit in the elections as BET on Oct. 25.
Some 30 members and officers of Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), a
30,000 strong group, delivered the formal request to the Office of the
Executive Secretary and appealed to the President for additional
compensation for their election duty and ensure their safety in the
TDC has been expressing dismay towards the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC) because its inaction to reward the teachers’ election works
especially now that there is increase in the number of voters per
clustered precinct from maximum of 200 to maximum of 400.
The content of the appeal to the President include an increase of per
diem from P1,000.00 to P1,500.00 or a total of P3,000.00 for two days;
an increase from P500 to P1000 per SK precinct; and provision of P500
transportation allowance for all DepEd personnel involved in the
“This request is based on moral and technical precedence. Thus, we
anticipate the president’s most favorable consideration,” said TDC
national chairperson Benjo Basas.
He explained that public schools teachers who will man the polls on
the local election have some reservations in performing their duties
because of the continued inaction to their appeal for better
compensation package, lighter workloads and securing their safety for
the local election.
Basas said that during the meeting with some officials of the DepEd
and COMELEC, both agencies assured that they will do something to ensure
teachers’ safety and protection.
It is very unfortunate, Basas said, that the compensation for
teachers will remain very minimal at a total of P2,000.00 with an
additional P500.00 for precinct with SK. “The issue here does not
revolve in payment, but in our teachers’ supposed honor — the dignity of
TDC also questioned the COMELEC and the government when it comes to appraising the worth of teachers’ sacrifices.
“We risk to life and limb, physical and mental exhaustion but it seems that we are always neglected.”
Basas said that one thing that does not sit well with the teachers
“is that this coming election has the lowest compensation package
compared to the recent elections from the year 2007.”
He explained that in the Barangay and SK Elections of 2007, for instance, teachers were paid P2,500.00.
Bishop Antonio Tobias of the Diocese
of Novaliches has urged the faithful to form circles of discernment
again to better assess the candidates for the October 25 barangay and SK
In a circular letter sent to Radyo Veritas 846, Tobias urged the
faithful to assess the candidates using the LASER test which stands for
Lifestyle, Action, Support, Election Conduct and Reputation.
“It’s best that we do this (discernment) instead of holding a
Candidates Forum which only serves as a vehicle for candidates to
campaign,” he said.
The Novaliches prelate also called on the faithful to actively
participate in the upcoming polls by going out and casting their vote.
“In previous elections, we used to think that the barangay elections
is not that important that’s why we chose to ignore it and take our long
weekend instead of voting,” said Tobias.
“I disagree with this kind of thinking. In the upcoming polls, let us
actively participate by casting our vote and choosing the right
candidates,” Tobias added.
He added: “I hope with the Lord’s help and the people’s participation our barangay elections will be peaceful and meaningful.”
Source: The Manila Bulletin, Ina Hernando-Malipot, 10/19/2010