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Bacolod City, Philippines Saturday, February 10, 2018
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Teachers air 4 poll demands

The Bacolod City Public School Teachers Federation directors, in a resolution released yesterday,reaffirmed their stand that their members will not serve in the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections unless their demands are met by the Commission on Elections.

Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon Sia earlier said that Bacolod needs 2,538 teachers to serve as members of the Electoral Boards and Barangay Boards of Canvassers, but so far, only 50 percent of that number have signed up for poll duty.

GualbertoDajao, BCPSTF and Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Negros president, furnished the DAILY STAR with a copy of the teachers demands.

“We are cognizant of the teachers' role in serving in the elections to ensure clean, honest and credible elections,” Dajao said.

But they want Siato listen to their demands and convey them to the Comelec national office, Dajao said.

Siasaid Bacolod Schools Superintendent Cynthia Demavivaswas trying to broker a dialog Monday but she can only listen to the teachers demands and convey them to their head office.

“I just want to make it clear that I am not in authority to negotiate with them, but can forward their position paper to the Comelec en banc,” she said.

Among the four BCPSTF demands are that the Comelec furnish the federation with proof of a resolution of the case filed against three teachers of Rizal Elementary School; that a memorandum of agreementbe inked between the Comelec and the federation that the teachers will be provided with financial and legal assistance if cases are filed against them and other BEI members;

That half of their election honoraria be released a day before election day and the other half a day after the return of election paraphernalia; and that BEIs be given seven day-service credits for the election services they render.

The BCPSTF resolution said the three Rizal Elementary School teachers are still languishing due to an unresolved case filed against them during the last barangay election and were ordered to pay a big amount by virtue of a demand letter.

“The COMELEC Bacolod did not provide them with legal, financial and even mere moral support to defend themselves,” the BCPSTF resolution said.

However, Barangay 12 Kagawad Virginia Timtiman, in an interview over ABS CBN yesterday, said she did not file any charges against the three BEIs who committed an error in tallying her votes in the 2013 barangay polls.

The mistake led to her being unable to assume her post until the Comelec en banc ruled three years later that she won in the 2013 polls.

Timtiman said that in July 2017, she sent a demand letter to the three teachers to collect from them the honorarium she was not able to collect as kagawad for more than three years but they did not answer her.

Even if they did not answer her she has no more plans to file charges against the three teachers since she is already serving her barangay as a kagawad, she said.

Siasaid she sent a manifestation to the Comelec head office asking for a resolution of the case of Timtiman so she could be proclaimed winner, along with an incident report, and supporting documents.

The goal was to help Timtimanget proclaimed so that the errors committed by the teachers could be rectified, Sia said.

The three teachers did not even bother to reply to the case before the Comelec, she was the one who sent the documents and manifestations so the issue would be resolved, Sia said.

On the demand for a memorandum of understanding to provide teachers with legal assistance, Sia said that is a matter for the Comelec head office to address, it is beyond her capacity.

The Comelec has provided the Department of Education head office every election large budgets for legal fees, she said.

On the demand for the release of half of the teachers honoraria before election day and the other half after, Sia said Comelec has always done that except for the 2016 polls when the Commission on Audit called the Comelec's attention on its release of cash advances, in violation of its guidelines.

The Comelec, to address the issue, distributed cash cards to the teachers before the election but because it was done nationwide the LandBank system crashed, and it was a nightmare for them, she added.

They are still waiting for the Comelec head office to iron out the matter with COA, she said.

On the demand that the BEIs be given seven day-service credits for the election services, instead of five, Sia said that is also a matter for the Comelec head office to address.

The five days are already enough because during barangay elections the teachers render work for only two to three days, Sia said.*CPG



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