DepEd: Teachers' Election Duty Still Mandatory

Manila Bulletin, October 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

DepEd: Teachers' Election Duty Still Mandatory


The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday that unless the Omnibus Election Code is amended, election duty will remain mandatory for teachers except for security reasons. "We support the call of teachers to make election duties optional for them. Unfortunately, until the amendment of the Omnibus Election Code, they [teachers] will be mandated to serve," DepEd Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Alberto Muyot said. However, public school teachers group Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) reiterated that compulsory poll duties is a form of "legalized exploitation." TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said that teachers are exposed to all sorts of dangers including health risks, harassment, legal charges and physical attack every elections. Basas said that there are several reasons why teachers are pushing for the optional election duties. "We cannot refuse the assignment to sit as election workers, even if this task may kill us or expose us to harm, even death," he said. Apart from this, Basas said teachers cannot negotiate with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for higher compensation and they cannot demand for a lawyer to defend them in times of trouble during elections. "The mandated poll duty of public school teachers is a legal excused for the government to perpetuate exploitation," he added. Public school teachers, Basas said are deputized as poll workers and tasked to supervise the whole process, from opening to the closing of polling precincts under the law. …

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