Comelec: Delays in precinct openings for 2nd BOL plebiscite can’t be assured
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) says it cannot guarantee that the there will be no delays in the opening of polling precincts for the second round of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) plebiscite on Wednesday, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said on Tuesday.
“That one we absolutely cannot guarantee prevention, if a teacher at the last minute decides ‘I’m not gonna show up’ then there will be a delay,” Jimenez said in a press briefing.
“It could be a delay of a few minutes, could be a delay of a few hours. What we can control in that situation is our response to it,” he added.
Jimenez said that “special monitoring teams” have been deployed to Lanao del Norte and North Cotabato to assist just in case of delays in the opening of polling areas.
According to Jimenez, local authorities have already lined up alternates for those teachers who will not show up on plebiscite day.
“We also have alternates trained to make sure that in case na wala na tayong makuha from the list of preferences na binigay sa ESRA (Election Service Reform Act), meron tayong maipapasok diyan na nakapag-training,” he said.
“Mahalaga yung training, because remember and trabaho ng plebiscite committee is a very technical task no? Maraming mga forms na sinusunod, so kailangan talagang pinaghahandaan yan,” he added.
The alternative teachers will be briefed on how to perform their plebiscite duty for at least 30 minutes to an hour if they are called in at the last minute, Jimenez said.
Under the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA), Electoral Board members should be public school teachers who are willing and available to render election service.
In case of lack of public school teachers willing, available or qualified to serve, the law allows the Comelec to appoint the following persons in this order of preference:
- a) private school teachers;
- b) national government employees:
- c) Department of Education’s non-teaching personnel;
- d) other national government officials and employees holding regular or permanent positions, excluding uniformed personnel of the Department of National Defense and all its attached agencies;
- e) members of the Comelec-accredited citizen arms or other civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations duly accredited by the Commission; and (d) any registered voter of the city or municipality of known integrity and competence who is not connected with any candidate or political party. /muf
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