TDC hails ARMM colleagues for refusal to serve polls
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) hails the Comelec approval of the request from some 1000 teachers from Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) not to require them to sit as members of the Board of Election Tellers (BET) and facilitate the elections in their respective localities for Barangay polls on Monday, October 28. The teachers cited security reasons for their refusal to serve. The Comelec instead deployed personnel from Philippine National Police to man the elections in lieu of the teachers.
We are happy with this decision and we consider this a breakthrough because we are not talking here of 1 or 10 or even 100 teachers, they are more than 900, almost a thousand. The Comelec just confirmed that they cannot ensure the safety of our teachers. We salute our colleagues from Mindanao for their courageous refusal and we view this as a precedent for future elections, should the optional election duty for public school teachers proposal will not make it again in the 16th Congress.
This is a good sign that the teachers may soon not be compelled to work in elections and the task be assigned to somebody else. The government which cannot protect their teachers who are doing duties apart from teaching does not have the right to compel them for such work.
Once again, we would like to reiterate our three major demands for the October 28, elections:
1. Ensure the protection of teachers from harassment, intimidation and physical attack;
2. Provide legal assistance for teachers who will be facing election-charges; and
3. Raise the honorarium from P2, 000 to P4, 000
If the state can easily grant extremely large amount of money for discretionary funds of public officials and the bonuses and honoraria of SSS, GSIS and other state-run companies, it is but proper to give the public school teachers the compensation and protection we just deserve. The treatment of public school teachers during elections is a manifestation of how this government values its teachers and the teaching profession- the noblest of all.
Reference: Benjo Basas, National Chairperson 0920-5740241/ 3853437
October 26, 2013
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