Byline: E. T. SUAREZ
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) said yesterday that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), headed by Secretary Rolando G. Andaya Jr., has granted its request for the release of R465 million for the transportation allowance of public school teachers who will serve as chairmen and members of the boards of election tellers (BETs) that will conduct the voting and counting of votes in 238,000 clustered precincts set up for the Oct. 29, 2007 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections.
The Comelec, now led by Acting Chairman Resurreccion Z. Borra, said the DBM had released earlier R255 million for members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and another R100 million for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippine (AFP) performing poll duties in the synchronized village polls.
Borra said each chairman and member of BET will receive a transportation allowance of P500 on top of the regular per diem for every day of service.
He said half of per diem and transportation allowance will be paid to the public school teachers in the early morning of election day when they get from the municipal or city treasurer the documents, forms, and supplies they will need to perform their duties
The remaining half of the transportation and per diem will be given to them when they returned to the city or municipal treasurer the two copies of the Certificate of Receipt which they signed when they claimed the documents, forms and supplies needed to conduct the election.
The release R465 million for the transportation allowance of public school teachers came in the wake of reports that various organizations of teachers had threatened to withdraw from poll duties after the Comelec allegedly deprived them of transportation allowance and insurance coverage for serving in the polls.
The groups include the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Manila Public School Teachers Association (MPSTA), Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA), and the Philippine Public School Teachers Association -- National Capital Region.
Borra said the insurance coverage for public school teachers serving in the barangay and SK polls has been taken care of under the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Comelec and the Department of Education (DepEd).
He said in case of injury, death or hospitalization of public school teachers rendering poll duties, the amount of P200,000 will be paid to them under Dep-Ed and Comelec MOA.
"The transportation allowance will be distributed equitably to public school teachers who will once again perform their sacred duties in the election of village officials on Monday, Oct. 29," Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said.
On the release of budget to the PNP and the AFP to cover their requirements, Borra said the funds will be subject to the provisions of the Omnibus Election Code and other pertinent laws, rules and regulations.
"The actual utilization/disbursements out of the cash allocation shall be subject to the existing budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations," Borra added.
Lim assures teachers' protection, calls for clean polls
By ROY C. MABASA
Following his assurance that ample protection and security will be provided to all teachers performing poll duties, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim has called on the public to help authorities in ensuring that this Monday's barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will be clean, peaceful and orderly.
After issuing a directive to Manila Police District director Chief Supt. Roberto Rosales to detail enough uniformed and plainclothes policemen in all poll centers, Mayor Lim cited the need to protect public school teachers in the city.
"As frontliners in practically all electoral exercises, the country's public school teachers have been the subject of harassment, unfair accusations of cheating and dishonesty, even violence and death. …