By Chito Chavez
As the Synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) 2018 nears, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has 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 manual voting.
DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya has cited the need for the teachers serving in May 14 village polls to be oriented anew of the rules in appreciating and counting the ballots.
The voting and counting in the coming BSKE will be manual as opposed to the automated elections in 2016.
“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,” Malaya said.
Malaya noted the training will be 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.
He said he spoke to some teachers in Pangasinan who requested special training on appreciation of ballots prior to Barangay elections.
“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,” he added.
The last manual election in the country was conducted during the barangay elections in November 2013.
Automated elections were done during the May 2013 midterm and May 2016 presidential elections.
According to the Comelec, some 77-million ballots have been printed for the coming elections.
Voters need to write down the names of their barangay and SK bets.
About 300,000 public school teachers are expected to serve as chairperson and members of electoral boards.
They will be assigned to serve across 41,933 barangays nationwide since the 96 barangays in Marawi City are exempted from conducting the May 14 polls.
Per Election Service Reform Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10756, the electoral boards shall be entitled to corresponding honoraria.
The chairman shall receive P6,000 while the members shall receive P5,000 each.
Those serving as Department of Education Supervisor Official (DESO) shall get P4,000 while the support staff shall be entitled to P2,000.
On top of the honoraria, the BEIs shall also receive P1,000 travel allowance to be paid within 15 days from May 14 election.
They are also entitled to a minimum of five days accrued service credits.
Republic Act 10756 provides that rendering of election services is no longer compulsory for public school teachers who may opt out of election duty.
Should there be lack of volunteer teachers, the Comelec can appoint private school teachers, national government employees excluding military officers, DepEd nonteaching personnel, other national government officials and employees with permanent position, members of Comelec -accredited civil society organizations, or any registered voter in the city or municipality with known integrity and not connected with any candidate or political party.