MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) has announced that public schools and teachers nationwide are ready for the Barangay (Village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections.
In his speech Monday at the National Day of Prayer, State of Readiness and Signing of Memoranda of Agreement, DepEd Undersecretary Alain Del Pascua said that there is “enough number of volunteers all over the country have volunteered to perform poll duties on May 14.
“Nitong nakaraang tatlong araw nagpulong po ang mga principal at superintendent sa Davao mahigit sa 3,000 sila doon sa isang pagpupulong at mahigit 5,000 sila doon sa isang pagpupulong at doon nakita namin na marami paring nag-volunteer sa ating mga teachers sa electoral board even if this is the first year of the implementation of the election law kung saan voluntary ang pagsisilbi sa election ng mga teacher (This past three days the principals and superintendents in Davao had a meeting and over 3,000 in one meeting and more than 5,000 in another meeting. There, we saw that many volunteered among our teachers in the electoral board even if this is the first year of the implementation of the election law where rendering of electoral service by the teachers is voluntary),” Pascua said.
Pascua said that despite the many preparations in the past two to three weeks, there are still other things they need to prepare to meet the needs of teachers and non-teaching personnel who will do poll duties.
“Isa po sa mga dapat namin ayusin ay ang establishment po ng DepEd Election Task Force and Monitoring Center sa central office kung saan higit 300 kawani at opisyales ng DepEd ay magpupulong para magbigay ng suporta, isang araw bago maghalalan at itong task force na ito ay gagawin rin sa bawat region nang sa gayon may support group na agad ang ating mga guro (One thing that we need to prepare is the establishment of the DepEd Election Task Force and Monitoring Center in the central office where more than 300 employees and officials of DepEd will meet to give support, a day before the election and this task force will be established in every region so that our teachers would have immediate support),” Pascua added.
Pascua said the teachers’ signing of consent forms is one concern they need to focus on.
DepEd also has interactions with Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) about the tax exemption of the teachers’ honoraria and travel allowance, Pascua said.
In an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA), Pascua said the talks about the tax exemption issue between DepEd, BIR and Comelec are still ongoing.
“May panawagan po si Kalihim Briones na itaas ito dahil ito ay hindi pangkaraniwang eleksiyon dahil ito ay manual na eleksiyon na mahirap ipatupad na hindi gaya ng nakaraang mga eleksiyon natin na puro automated lang at magkaroon ng tax exemption dahil nung mga nakaraang eleksiyon ay exempted po ang mga iyan (Secretary Briones has a call to increase the honoraria and allowances because this is not a usual election because this is a manual election unlike the past elections which are automated and they have tax exemption. They were exempted in the last election),” Pascua said.
The Comelec has yet to provide them a list of the public school teachers with poll duties but DepEd is ready nationwide because many have volunteered.
“We would like also to know how many volunteered so we know how many teachers we need to serve this coming election…the only problem is the consent form which is important because it says na hindi sila pinilit (that they were not forced) and I don’t know if the consent form will be the basis of their honoraria, that’s from the Comelec and there’s enough copies naman siguro lang hindi pa nakakarating sa mga lugar nila (probably they [forms] haven’t reached their places yet),” he said. (With Jomari Castigador,OJT/PNA)
By Ma. Teresa Montemayor