Teachers want non-compulsory service during elections

Media Coverage,Press May 1, 2015 4:39 PM

MANILA – With the presidential elections merely one year away, a teachers’ group called on lawmakers to immediately pass a bill that would give public school teachers the choice to decide whether or not to render service during the elections.

House Bill 5412, or the Election Service Reform Bill, will not only make election service non-compulsory for public school teachers but will also expand the benefits and government assistance for those who would want to do so. The bill has already passed the committee level at the House of Representatives.

Aside from medical and death benefits, poll workers will also be given legal service if cases will be filed against them in the conduct of their duty.

Benjo Basas, national chairman for the Teachers Dignity Coalition, said teachers are generally willing to serve in the elections but would not want the state to impose on them.

“Ang gusto lang namin, bigyan lang naman kami ng option, ng choice,” Basas said. He cited the example of Maguindanao public school teachers who were threatened with legal actions when they refused to serve in the 2013 midterm elections because of the security situation in the area.

Rep. Fredenil Castro, chairman of the committee on suffrage, downplayed concerns that the law would lead to a lack of poll workers in the next elections. He said opening the election service to willing citizens would even benefit the country, provided that there would be a continuous and credible selection and accreditation process by the Comelec.

“Mas maganda ang batas na ito sapagkat naibabahagi natin sa ibang qualified Filipinos ang karangalan na magbigay ng serbisyo sa halalan and be identified as one of the bulwarks of our democracy,” Castro said.


Posted at 04/30/2015 3:07 PM

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