By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
Despite opposition from some teachers, the Department of Education (DepEd) on Monday maintained that the election monitoring mobile app was developed and is used to ensure their “protection” and “welfare” as they fulfill their election service duties.
“Through this app, a teacher who has a mobile phone can immediately contact the Central Office,” said Education Leonor Briones in a press briefing on 2019 midterm election updates.
“For past few hours, we have seen how it is working for us and we’re able to gauge the response of our teachers,” she added.
Undersecretary for Administration and Election Task Force (ETF) Chair Alain Del Pascua explained that the DepEd launched an election monitoring mobile application to enable officials, teachers, and personnel serving in the 2019 elections to send real-time and more accessible reports.
“It is our tool to monitor teacher-related and DepEd-related issues and concerns,” Pascua said.
“We want to know the real issues on the ground at a given time so that immediately, may response din kami,” he added.
“Kung may na-harass o nagkaroon ng aksidente or may threats of violence, then, we would immediately inform our law enforcers,” Pascua said.
“In essence, the mobile app is actually in protection of our teachers,” he added.
Pascua also emphasized DepEd is not compelling the use of the said application: “While the submission of reports is required, the use of the DepEd election monitoring app is an option—a simpler, easier, quicker, and more efficient option,” he added.
“DepEd teachers or personnel do not need to purchase smartphones or load for data connection since using the election monitoring app is not mandatory,” Pascua said.
Though using said application is not required, he maintained that “it is a more efficient way of gathering, consolidating, centralizing, and managing information on elections into real-time reports, which can be easily understood and immediately addressed.”
Pascua said that the DepEd election monitoring application is “designed to be user-friendly” since the questions presented in the said application are answerable by simply clicking the” true or false” button.
“When all the questions are answered, submitting and uploading the reports to the server may take only five minutes,” Pascua explained.
“This digital submission of reports takes a shorter time than the past elections’ manual submission,” he added.
This is the first time the DepEd has taken on this endeavor and engaging the reporting process through a digital, by default, approach.
“The app, in reality, just simplifies the work to be done and makes it easier, quicker, and more efficient,” Pascua said.
“If data are collected properly, officials are able to easily get a picture of activities and reports within hours, not in months or in weeks,” he added.
In the future, he noted that DepEd hopes to use this monitoring system in other activities or items under DepEd.
Earlier, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) lambasted DepEd for asking teachers who render poll duties to use the monitoring app noting that this is only an “additional burden.”