DepEd asks Comelec to make voluntary and not mandatory tasks of teachers in forthcoming polls

By Ferdinand G. Patinio

MANILA, July 16 (PNA) — The Department of Education (DepEd) asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to make it voluntary and not mandatory the Election Day task of teachers for the May 2016 polls.

DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said the department wanted public school teachers to decide if they want to serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) or not.

“Sana po tingnan po ng Comelec yung baka puwede naman ang pagsisilbi ng guro ay on a voluntary basis lang,” he said in a press conference after meeting with Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista on Thursday.

He added, “Hinihingi lang po namin na baka puwedeng tingnan po ng Comelec at hindi gawin mandatory.”

For his part, the poll body chief said he was open to the idea noting that they would not be needing as many teachers since in automated elections Comelec had clustered precincts numbering to about 100,000 nationwide.

He said the commission would only be needing about 300,000 BEIs.

“Right now, there are over 630,000 public school teachers. So, if one out of two would be willing to serve as our BEIs, we would have no problem,” Bautista said.

At the same time, Luistro noted that their request was possible since there was a surplus of public school teachers during the previous two automated elections.

“Sa palagay po namin ay magkakaroon naman ng sapat na numero ng guro na handa naman magbigay ng kanilang serbisyo sa eleksyon na ito,” he said.

During the 2013 midterm elections, more than 230,000 public school teachers served as members of the BEIs in about 80,000 clustered precincts.

Under existing Comelec rules, each BEI shall be composed of a chairman and two members, all of whom shall be public school teachers. (PNA)