January 25, 2010
DAVAO CITY – Exactly 104 days before election time, the ACT Teachers Partylist is set to intensify its own initiated voters’ education and basic poll automation training among teachers.
In a press conference held today, Prof. Myfel Paluga, regional coordinator of ACT Teachers Partylist, said that “the apparent ineptness of the Commission on Elections in providing the teachers with voters’ education and basic knowledge regarding poll automation is already causing panic among the teachers and the voting public in general.”
The ACT Teachers Party, which was recently accredited by the Comelec to participate in the coming 2010 elections, has long been calling the Comelec to provide basic orientation on the new system.
“We need to ensure that the true voice of the teachers will not be disenfranchised because of the Comelec’s negligence of its supposed tasks,” Paluga said.
For her part Mrs. Gloria Arcenas, Kahugpungan ng mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon (KAMKEM-Alliance of Concerned Teachers) secretary-general and a public school teacher said “we play a crucial role in this year’s election given the major changes in the technology we will be using. Such would require efficiency in our part and we fear that the lack of knowledge we have regarding poll automation would make us inept for the task.”
“More so, we fear that any lapse on our part would be used in the manipulation of the election results. As Board of Election Inspectors, the teachers are also responsible for the guarding of the sacred ballots,” Arcenas said.
Paluga also reported that they have received reports of massive disenfranchisement among teachers in some regions.
“We will also be looking into the reported disenfranchisement of teachers who will be serving as Board of Election Inspectors during the elections. Most of them are required to vote on the precinct where they are registered. However, the problem arises when the precinct where they are registered is not the precinct where they are assigned as a BEI,” Paluga said.
Watchdogs for the 2010 elections have recently rated the Comelec’s readiness on poll automation as “endangered”. #
PROF. MYFEL PALUGA