MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education on Monday said poll automation has made the election process safer for teachers who traditionally serve as members of the board of election inspectors for nationwide polls.
In a statement, DepEd Secretary Mona Valisno said the education department has yet receive reports of election-related violence against the 229,020 teachers who served in the 76,340 clustered precincts of the 2010 national elections.
“We are pleased that our teachers serving in the frontlines of the election were spared from whatever form of violence," Valisno said in a statement.
The Philippine National Police has reported 82 incidents of election-related violence in the country since January 10, 2010 but none of these involved teachers. As of May 9, there are still 207 incidents that remain unconfirmed and potentially election-related, according to the PNP National Operations Center.
Valisno said poll automation has actually made the elections safer for teachers especially since BEIs no longer have to read or appreciate the ballots.
“There is no more any discretion on the part of the teacher to appreciate the ballots, thus there is no reason to intimidate or harass our BEIs. I think we can say that automation has made it safer for the teacher,” she said.
Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya, DepEd spokesman, said Regional Task Forces reported that no teacher or member of the board of election inspectors so far has been affected by any of the bombings that took place in La Union, Lanao del Sur or Masbate. He expressed hope that the trend will continue because this will encourage more teachers to serve during elections. “Election time shows a teacher’s professionalism and patriotism,” he said.
Malaya said the 2007 elections had some shocking cases of election-related violence against teachers particularly the burning of the school house in Taysan, Batangas that led to the death of Nellie Banaag, a public school teacher serving in the BEI.
The 2007 poll also saw the kidnapping of 4 teachers in Maguindanao while 2 teachers in Abra were shot while transporting ballots to the canvassing center.
Source: ABS-CBN News, May 10, 2010