Teacher shares hardships of serving during the election

MANILA, Philippines – A teacher’s post on how hard it is to be a Board of Election Officer has gone viral.

Teacher shares hardships of serving during the election
Election service is no easy task for our public school teachers | Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Comelec

On Facebook, Bernadette Santos recalled the time she served during the last Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election. She shared how they were asked to be at the polling precinct at 4:00 a.m. to receive items that should have been given to them the day before. They were assigned to an abandoned school where there had to walk half a kilometer to help bring in armchairs.

Teacher Bernadette described their assigned precinct, “Dun kami inilagay sa telecom, abandonadong eskwelahan ata yun na nagtayo lang ng pinagtapal tapal na plywood para makabuo ng presinto.”

But the real challenge was when the voters started coming in. They had no time to eat and no refreshments, not even water were given to them. The tired teacher also lamented how she felt like she was a “criminal,” as watchers looked at all their moves waiting for them to make mistakes.

When they finished counting polls at 8:00 p.m., the teachers had to fill out a lot reports, most of them very confusing. Santos said, “Pagkatapos nun sandamakmak ang reports na mano-mano isusulat at tatapusin. Mga kinse mahigit na envelope yata ang pupunuan namin at kada envelope at selyo may pirma at thumbmark. Alas dose kami na tapos.”

Santos said she felt really bad for the other teachers who she saw were exhausted and barely survived the day. She said, “Emotionally, mentally at physically tortured ang mga guro tuwing eleksyon. Marami akong nakitang teachers na nag-iiyakan na sa pagod at gutom. May na high-blood. May nagsusuka at namumutla na at hindi na makausap.”

The exhausted teacher complained the Comelec doesn't give them enough support. There were no dry run and not enough instructions. It was like everything was just handed out to them to learn and immediately understand. When teachers find themselves confused, they would hear hurtful words such as, “Parang hindi teacher, hindi alam ang gagawin.”

Santos said that the moment she woke up, she didn't think of food but how she survived the tumultuous election day. She felt like she went into a battle from starting 4:00 in the morning and went home at 5:00 morning the following day.

As parting words she said, “Kailan iisip ng paraan ang Comelec para sa pagpapadali ng trabaho namin? Tuwing eleksyon ko nararamdamang hindi ako guro.”

Country’s “hero” on election day

Under the Election Service Reform Act, electoral boards heads are expected to receive P6,000 while members will get P5,000 each. The Department of Education Supervisor Officials will receive P4,000 while support staff will get P2,000.

It also makes election service no longer required for all public school teachers.

Under Comelec’s Resolution # 10211, volunteer-teachers are entitled to additional allowances and insurances that includes:
  • P1,000 travel allowance
  • P50,000-worth of legal indemnification package
  • P200,000 maximum medical assistance insurance
  • P500,000 maximum insurance for election-related death

The allowances need to be distributed within 15 days from election day. Despite appeals to make the teacher’s honorarium and allowances to be tax-free, the Bureau of Internal Revenue stood firm with its decision that will still be under a five percent withholding tax.

DepEd, Comelec urged teacher-volunteers to intensify training

DILG Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Jonathan E. Malaya had urged the Comelec and DepEd to intensify their training for Board of Election inspectors (BEIs).

According to DepEd, aside from the Comelec training, they have uploaded a video on their website that will properly orient and train volunteer-teachers about ballot appreciation and general instructions. They also noted that from May 13-15, they have a DepEd Election Task Force and Monitoring Center to provide support about poll duties.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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