By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
With recent reports by the Bacolod City Commission on Elections (Comelec) claiming a lack of teachers to man polling stations for the upcoming May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections, the Negros Occidental chapter of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said the Comelec must address several concerns.
In a radio interview over the weekend, Negros Occidental ACT chairman Gualberto Dajao said the local Comelec must assist any teacher involved in an electoral protest; ensure honorariums are distributed on time, which, he pointed out, half is supposed to be distributed a day before the elections and the other half after polls are closed; and to provide seven days of service credits instead of the current five.
Earlier, Comelec-Bacolod elections officer, Atty. Mavil Majarucon-Sia, said the city may not have enough teachers to man polling precincts, prompting a need for volunteers to augment available personnel.
Majarucon-Sia noted some teachers have refused to serve, citing the potential for cases being filed against them, along with possible delays in the release of honorariums. This has resulted in the Electoral Board and Barangay Board of Canvassers acquiring half of their required 2,538 membership.
According to RA 10756, or the Election Service Reform Act, election service is not compulsory for public school teachers./DGB, WDJ