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Massive disenfranchisement of teachers impending

3 May 2010 No Comment

PRESS RELEASE

February 6,  2010

 

 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) today called on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to address the impending massive disenfranchisement of teachers this coming May 2010 election.

According to ACT National Vice-Chairperson Benjamin Valbuena, there are reports that some local COMELEC offices has already declared the teachers who have not voted in their registered precincts in the past two elections, as deactivated voters.

“This is preposterous,” said Valbuena, “for these teachers have been voting in the precincts where they were assigned as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). This problem was already resolved during former COMELEC Chair Benjamin Abalos’ time which issued COMELEC Resolution No. 7833 in the May 2007 elections. The resolution allowed the teachers to transfer their voter’s registration from where they reside, to the place where they work”.

Valbuena said the present actions of the COMELEC will lead to massive disenfranchisement of the teachers as voters.

In the Eastern and Western Districts of the City of San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, alone, more than half of the BEIs submitted by the District Supervisor have been declared as unregistered voters by the local COMELEC, and therefore cannot serve as BEIs. The Omnibus Election Code states that BEIs should be registered voters.

Valbuena added that this will most likely be the scenario in most parts of the country, especially in the urban centers like Quezon City and Manila. He stated that, often, the teachers live far away from their place of work, but they serve in the precincts assigned to them, which are usually their schools. “Thus in the past elections,” he said, “they are allowed to cast their votes in the precincts where they serve as BEIs, for it would be difficult for them to take time out of their poll duties to travel and vote at the precincts where they are registered as voters.”

Valbuena explained that this means that these teachers, who will not be allowed to serve as BEIs, will also not be allowed to vote. “What is alarming is that the teacher will not be allowed to exercise their right to suffrage, and this is unacceptable!” he exclaimed.

“Our teachers are forced to serve in the elections,” Valbuena said, “without adequate compensation and protection. They have risked their lives to render their patriotic duty to ensure and protect this democratic exercise of the people’s right to vote.” Valbuena also added that the COMELEC’s actions show disregard for the teachers who have been serving in the elections.

ACT calls on the COMELEC to address the impending massive disenfranchisement of teachers.

“We urge the COMELEC to recognize the great contributions of the teachers in the past elections, and not just scramble to make the glitch-riddled Automated Election work this coming May 2010,” Valbuena concluded. ##

 

Reference:     Benjamin Valbuena, ACT National Vice-Chairperson

Cellular No:  0918-239-9222

 

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