To monitor all election-related concerns of poll workers during the May 9 elections, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) has partnered with the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) to set up a command post.
“This initiative aims to help our teachers or any citizen who may need assistance from documentation, linkages and even legal help,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.
The members of TDC who opted not to serve the elections will man the post situated in their national office in Caloocan City starting 8 a.m. on May 8 up to noon on May 10.
LENTE lawyers and volunteer law students on the other hand will receive calls from TDC or directly from the public in their national office in Quezon City.
They will operate separately using their respective hotlines and other means of communication.
Basas, who is also a Caloocan High School teacher, said that they will accommodate reports from teachers and other concerned citizens from the field.
“I used to sit in both manual and automated elections and I am sure that our poll workers, especially teachers may encounter problems with voters, watchers, candidates and even machines,” he said.
The post will document reports of untoward incidents like harassment, cheating, intimidation, emergency, or any election-related concerns of public school teachers and the general public during the polls.
TDC has also established mobile numbers, social media accounts, and a Google Form link for easier reports from teachers.
The group will be assisted by LENTE which will also provide its hotline to answer legal questions in the field.
Aside from LENTE, Basas said that TDC will also coordinate closely with government and private agencies including the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Elections (Comelec), law enforcement units, election watchdogs, and the media during the elections.
Basas noted that members of the TDC from 17 regions of the country will also provide first-hand information from their respective localities as they did in the past elections.
“We call on our teachers and the general public to support this initiative by letting us know the possible irregularities like vote-buying, harassment, intimidation or any untoward incident that they may observe,” Basas said.
“This election, aside from being hotly contested, is unique in many ways, particularly in the emotions invested by supporters of different camps,” he explained. “It will surely affect our future as a nation, thus we need collective vigilance to make sure that the votes cast and counted are the people’s desire,” he added.
The TDC and LENTE will submit the documentation of their command post to the concerned agencies to be used as a reference for future policies.