DAVAO CITY – The Department of Education (DepEd) said health is the top reason why many teachers, most of them poll veterans, declined to serve in elections.
Other reasons cited include peace and order, especially in remote voting stations, and fear of being dragged into electoral protests. In this year’s barangay elections, conflict of interest is another issue because their relatives are running for barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan positions, said DepEd Region XI spokesperson Jenielito Atillo.
Atillo said honorarium and the fear of guns and goons have never been the major concern of the teachers during elections.
“Not all teachers but many opted not to serve, specifically because of health reason and members of their family are running in the barangay elections,” Atillo said in an interview Thursday.
He said many of those not serving in the barangay and SK elections are veterans of past elections. He added it was unfair that teachers, who are entrusted the ballot boxes every election to protect the votes, usually bear the brunt in cheating and ballot switching issues. Worse, the teachers were not provided the necessary financial and legal support during case hearings.
Atillo said these are the reasons why many teachers felt elated when they were no longer required to serve in the elections.
In this barangay and SK elections, Atillo said that in Davao City alone there are about 2,000 to 3,000 teachers and non-teaching staff who will be serving.
Despite some teachers not serving in this election, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Region XI earlier said the number of BEIs is enough for Davao region. It was able to pool people and trained them for the barangay and SK elections.
Comelec bared a total of 24,918 chairmen and members of the BEI for Davao region. The poll body's regional spokesperson Krisna Samantha Caballero said the number of BEIs is enough.
Aside from higher honorarium and travel allowance, Caballero said Comelec has also prepared budget of PHP500,000 for death benefits, PHP200,000 for medical and legal services, and PHP50,000 other assistance. (Lilian C. Mellejor/PNA)
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