26 February 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio called on Education Secretary Armin Luistro to immediately take measures to allow early voting for Department of Education (DepEd) employees appointed as poll workers this May.
The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on February 13 ruled that teachers and other DepEd employees tapped for poll duties in precincts outside their places of registration can vote on April 28, 29, and 30 provided they apply before March 15.
Barely three weeks away from the deadline, these employees are not even aware that they can avail of the early voting. DepEd has not issued a list of those appointed as election supervisors, members of Boards of Election Inspectors (BEI), and their support staff.
“DepEd should issue an Order and take other necessary steps to inform each and every teacher who will serve as BEI that they can avail of the early voting,” Tinio said. “It is DepEd’s responsibility.”
Per COMELEC Resolution 9637, government employees who wish to avail of early voting should file sworn applications with their “heads of offices” or “supervisors.” Upon inquiry, the poll body and DepEd are unclear as to who these persons are for teachers, principals, and other DepEd officials and employees.
The two agencies also have not yet made the application forms available.
“Teachers and other DepEd employees will again suffer massive disenfranchisement this 2013 elections if DepEd fails to immediately announce who can apply for early voting and before whom they can apply,” said Tinio. “This is a shameful reward for the invaluable service they give.”
In May 2010, more than 100,000 teachers were not able to vote due to heavy workload in bloated precincts and because they are not registered in their precincts of assignment.
Tinio also urges DepEd and COMELEC to provide free notarization of the application forms so early voters will not need to shell out additional costs.
“Early voting is not a privilege which they should pay for,” said Tinio, “but merely a manner by which they can effectively exercise a right that they share with other citizens, who did not have to pay upon registration.”
The progressive solon joined a picket at the DepEd Central Office and dialogue with Secretary Luistro to press for the above issues. ###