MANILA, Philippines – Election service is no longer compulsory for public school teachers after President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act No. 10756 last Friday, April 8.
The newly signed Election Service Reform Act gives public school teachers the option not to serve as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), and allows the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to get help from additional sources. (READ: DepEd: Required or not, teachers ready to render election duties)
In case of a lack of election officers, the Comelec may appoint the following, in this order of preference:
- Private school teachers
- National government employees (excluding military officers)
- Members of Comelec-accredited citizens’ arms
- Any voter with integrity and competence, and without political affiliations
Policemen are considered the final option if no other qualified voter volunteers.
The BEI chairperson will be granted an allowance of P6,000 – up from P3,000. Members will get P5,000.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education (DepEd) supervisor will get P4,000 from an earlier P3,000, and support staff will get P2,000 from an earlier P1,500.
In a statement on Wednesday, April 13, the DepEd welcomed the signing of the Election Service Reform Act.
“We always welcome legislations that promote and uphold the rights and safety of our teachers. We are confident that our public school teachers will always be ready to help and serve our countrymen,” said the DepEd.
Election duties entail high risks for public school teachers, as they face intimidation from political camps in addition to working long hours to canvass votes. This is why some pushed for election service to be voluntary.
Lawmakers earlier said that the Comelec would be consulted on whether the new law could be implemented in time for the 2016 elections, or whether it would be deferred for the next polls. – Rappler.com