By Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) Updated October 04, 2010 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has altered the procedures for the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections on Oct. 25 following the protest case filed by former senator Manuel Roxas II against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The Comelec issued a resolution ordering the separate listing of new voters and transferees from other polling precincts to keep intact all the records from the last May 10 elections.
“Applications for registration, transfer of registration record, reactivation, and change of name/correction of entries/reinstatement of name/inclusion of registration record of voters for the barangay elections approved by the ERB (Election Registration Boards) shall in the meantime be compiled in separate folders and arranged by precincts,” the Comelec said.
The Comelec also ordered the removal of voters that were included by the ERB in the book of registered voters and placed them in separate folders. Under the process, the newly registered voters for the Oct. 25 elections would be included in the approved applications for registration/transfer of registration records in the corresponding precinct Book of Voters.
Only those whose names or registration records are included in the Books of Voters are supposed to vote in the coming elections. However, in preparation for the start of the hearings on the protest case filed by Roxas against Binay, the Comelec decided to come out with a separate list of new voters.
The Comelec directed the election registration boards, election officers and election assistants to keep the Books of Voters used in the May 10, 2010 automated national and local elections intact in the offices of election officers until further orders by high court or the Presidential Election Tribunal hearing the electoral protest of Roxas.
The Comelec also ordered the preservation of the posted computerized voters lists, the election day computerized voters lists and other election documents and paraphernalia that were used in the May 10, 2010 national elections. On the other hand, a group of public school teachers who served in the May 10 elections reiterated their call for Comelec to allow them higher compensation for their poll duties this month.
Benjo Basas, national chairman of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), said the teachers deserve higher compensation since the barangay and SK elections would be done manually. Basas said the group had learned Comelec had issued a ruling last week granting teachers the same compensation rate they were given during the May 10 automated elections.
The Department of Education (DepEd), for its part, promised to make representations to the Comelec on behalf of the teachers. DepEd has already has started preparations by coordinating efforts with the Comelec, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the smooth conduct of the Oct. 25 elections. DepEd spokesman Alberto Muyot said the focus of the readiness effort was the crafting of a memorandum of agreement that will outline the roles and responsibilities of DepEd and the Comelec.
To be included in the agreement are provisions for the capacity building of teachers who will man the polls and possible allocation for insurance and other benefits. “We will also ask Comelec to release the honorarium of teachers on poll duty in full and not on a by-day basis or in parts,” Muyot said.
Muyot added DepEd would come up with a separate memorandum of agreement with the PNP to secure the teachers on poll duty. The coming election will entail more risks to teachers who will form part of the board of election tellers (BET), the official said.
“Working at the local level, they are prone to harassment and possible acts of violence from political rivals or losing candidates,” Muyot said. DepEd will disseminate to teachers the Comelec resolution that provides the guidelines for teachers on the performance of their duties as members of the BETs.
Comelec said 450,000 teachers would be needed for election duty since the votes would be manually counted. Muyot added DepEd would also work out a separate agreement with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for legal assistance to teachers.
“Because ballots will be counted manually, we cannot avoid instances when names will be inadvertently misread or for a count to be missed,” Muyot explained. In support of the teachers, DepEd will organize an election task force at the central office that will be replicated at the regional and division levels.
They will monitor the elections and will work hand in hand with Comelec and the PNP to provide teachers with immediate assistance. With Rainier Allan Ronda