DepEd task force to assist teachersBy Dona Z. Pazzibugan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Education Secretary Armin Luistro has created an Election Task Force to assist some 240,000 public school teachers who will man the election precincts during the May 13 polls.
Based at the Department of Education (DepEd) central office in Pasig City, the 146-man Election Task Force has eight sub-groups covering operations, communication, call center monitoring, logistics, legal defense, secretariat, external communication and even a medical unit.
Luistro designated Undersecretaries Alberto Muyot for legal affairs and Rizalino Rivera for regional operations to jointly head the task force, which has 146 personnel assigned to it.
“The DepEd Election Task Force shall ensure that teachers shall be provided with adequate information, technical and legal assistance in their performance of duties as members of the board of election inspectors (BEI), as well as principals, supervisors, schools division/city superintendents and other employees of DepEd who will serve during the May 13 automated national and local elections,” Luistro said in his order issued Thursday.
As in the last 2010 elections, the DepEd will again set up an operations center at its central office that will run from May 12 to 14 to serve as the teachers’ help line.
In the 2010 elections, five public school teachers were killed in the performance of their election duties while scores of others were injured, according to the DepEd.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) provides a P200,000 insurance for the deputized teachers in case of death.
This week, the DepEd entered into formal agreements with the Comelec, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Public Attorney’s Office to ensure that public school teachers are insured, secured, and legally assisted in case of harassment suits.
Every election, about 100 teachers end up getting charged before Comelec by losing candidates who contest the results by complaining about the teachers’ conduct of the elections.
Under Comelec rules, teachers who will serve as members of the three man-Board of Election Inspectors per precinct will each get a P3,000 honorarium.
They will each get another P500 for the testing and sealing of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the automated elections and P500 more as transportation allowance.
The DepEd supervisors assigned for every voting center shall also each receive a P3,000 honorarium.
The support staff will each get a P1,500 honorarium.
In the past, the payment of these allowances were delayed. Now, under an arrangement between the Comelec and the DepEd, the teachers will get their allowances on time either through their Landbank ATM payroll accounts or through cash cards mailed to them a few days before the elections.
In his order, Luistro also reminded all DepEd officials and personnel “not to intervene directly or indirectly in any election campaign or engage in any partisan political activity, except to vote.”