SOME 531,307 officials, teachers and personnel of the Department of Education will monitor the 36,830 schools-turned-poll centers in tomorrow’s mid-term elections.
”On May 13, our teachers will once more volunteer their time and energy to ensure that the conduct of the 2019 national and local elections is credible and orderly. We, at the Department of Education (DepEd), thank our teacher-volunteers for continuing to be on the frontline of the foremost exercise of democracy in the country notwithstanding the demands and challenges that the season entails, “ Education Secretary Leonor Briones said.
The DepEd has been relentless in working closely with the Commission on Elections and other agencies to ensure that teacher-volunteers will receive better incentives for performing their election duties.
“Through DepEd’s Election Task Force, we also ensure that teachers and personnel are properly oriented and trained to serve in the polls,” the DepEd said.
The DepEd also prohibited teacher-volunteers from electioneering and engaging in any partisan political activity.
DepEd officials are also barred from using their position of authority to influence teaching or non-teaching personnel under their supervision of jurisdiction to support any preferred candidate or political party.
“DepEd stands one with the country in hoping and working for honest and peaceful elections. We call on all our officials and personnel to maintain neutrality, focus on non-partisan public service, and remain a beacon of integrity,” Briones said.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross will mobilize 150 ambulances and 2000 staff and volunteers all over the country for the 2019 National and local midterm- elections in pursuit of its objective to safeguard its countrymen.
“We want to make sure that each and every citizen of the Philippines is safe and sound while exercising his/her right to vote. To secure their well-being, we will put up first aid stations, welfare desks, emergency vehicles and mobile units (roving teams) in schools and local chapters duty during the election day.
“In PRC, our mantra is volunteers+logistics+ information technology = always first, always ready, always there. PRC is committed in providing services for the interest of mankind,” said PRC chair and CEO Richard Gordon.
For emergency and any untoward incidents, contact our 24/7 Operations Center. Dial 143 or 790-23-00 for assistance.
LEGAL AID FOR EBs
Teachers or individuals serving as electoral boards (EBs) in tomorrow’s polls elections need not worry if they are harassed in the performance of duties.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) reminded them to avail of legal assistande under Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act that caters to problems poll officers may encounter.
According to DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, the Commission on Elections has created a special trust fund pursuant to RA 10756 to cover the cost of assistance, medical assistance and legal indemnification for persons rendering election-related services.
Apart from the honoraria, travel allowances and service credits, EBs are entitled under the Comelec’s legal indemnification package to medical assistance of up to P200,000 and legal protection.
“We have come a long way in promoting the rights of our teachers who serve in our elections. If ever they encounter legal problems, all they need to do is to make a claim with the COMELEC or with their agency, the Department of Education, and there are already systems in place to protect their rights,” Malaya added.
He said with the creation of the special trust fund law, teachers are now better protected than in any national election in the past.
“Teachers are doing election duty over and above the call of duty, so we are pleased that they now have legal protection from unscrupulous candidates or politicians who want to harass them,” he added.
The Comelec also directed the Philippine National Police or any law enforcement agency to provide security to any teacher experiencing imminent threat of violence, harassment, or intimidation as a result of his or her election service.
With Joel dela Torre