THE Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to “intensify the training of public-school teachers who will be serving as Board of Election Inspectors [BEIs]” in the synchronized barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) on May 14 to prevent any irregularity in the manual form of election.
Around 300,000 public-school teachers will serve in the May 14 elections, the Comelec said.
The teachers will be assigned to serve the 41,933 barangays nationwide, excluding the 96 barangays of Marawi City since the national government has yet to completely clean it up after the war.
The call to the poll body, DILG Assistant Secretary for Capacity Development, Public Affairs and Communication Jonathan E. Malaya said, is to ensure the “teachers [are] oriented [once] again of the rules in appreciating and counting the ballots considering the voting and counting for the May 14 elections will be manual as opposed to the automated elections in 2016.”
The last BSKE polls were held in November 2013.
The next elections were scheduled in October 2016, but were postponed by a law approved and passed by Congress as requested by President Duterte.
It was postponed once again last year. Thus, a five-year lapse would affect the accuracy on how the teachers would properly manage the manual voting.
Malaya, also the interior department’s spokesman, said a news statement issued by the DILG’s Public Information Office headed by Tess Vergara that “It is always a huge challenge for teachers serving as BEIs, especially with all the pressure from poll watchers, supporters of the barangay and SK candidates and even from voters. They should therefore know their duties like the back of their hands to ensure that there will be no glitches come election day.”
He even averred that the training should not be viewed as additional job for the Comelec nor added burden for the teachers.
Rather, the training must be appreciated as “beneficial for the teachers who had served as BEIs in previous elections, as well as for those who will be doing election duty for the first time,” Malaya said.
The retraining call of the DILG to the Comelec was based on the request of the public-school teachers from Pangasinan brought the idea to the DILG to hold a special training on appreciation of ballots prior to barangay elections following the recent provincial visit of Malaya in Pangasinan.
Malaya said “the important thing is that they will be able to learn and go through the whole process so that they will be able to address and resolve any issue that may come up during the election proper.”
The Comelec has previously made public that there were around 77 million ballots that will be used in the coming elections.