DIRECTOR'S Cut: (This portion features the thoughts of DepEd-11 Regional Director Susana Teresa B. Estigoy, Ceso-IV to all stakeholders and recipients of the efforts to improve the basic education) I do not consider my job as plain work --- rather it is my LIFE. "We have to continually examine what succeeds and fails, and why. We have to uphold and live true to our battlecry and Deped Secretary Jesli Lapus' slogan of governance: "Edukasyon ang Solusyon"

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

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To ensure fair compensation for DepEd employees serving in the automated national and local elections, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus and Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Jose Melo signed a memorandum of agreement.

Lapus cited the need for the teachers to be fully compensated as they perform central roles in this political exercise. He added that the event is part of a series of cumulative measures to ensure clean, honest, and peaceful elections.

If plans really push through, the upcoming elections will be the first automated elections held in the country. DepEd Undersecretary Franklin Sunga and Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal came to an agreement on teacher compensation package last December at the Comelec Central Office in Intramuros, Manila.

Sunga said DepEd has been closely coordinating with Comelec on the appropriate compensations the teachers deserve for their election duty in May 2010.

In the MOA signed, Comelec agreed to the compensation demands by various teachers' organizations such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC), and the Action and Solidarity for the Empowerment of Teachers (Assert), to name a few.

Those who will participate in the 2010 elections are expected to receive a total amount of P4,300.00 broken as follows: including the chair will get P3,000 each as honorarium as Board of Election Inspectors, plus P300 transportation allowance, P500 for the inspection, verification, and sealing of book of voters plus another P500 for the inspection, verification, and sealing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS).

Likewise, team leaders (school heads, principals and education supervisors who are not members of the BEI) who will supervise certain precincts will receive P3,000. Janitors and messengers who will be assigned in certain precincts during the elections will get P1,500 while members of board of canvassers in the municipal, city and provincial levels will get P5,000.

The meeting revealed that P30M will be set aside by the Comelec as part of the teacher compensation deal. This amount will be allotted for election-related death or injuries that may be sustained by DepEd employees in the performance of their duties. The heirs of the deceased official/employee shall be given the amount of P200,000.00.

With the risk the teachers are exposed to during this democratic exercise where every candidate has nothing in their minds but to win, it is just proper that the teachers be given just compensation, legal and monetary aid in case untoward incident will happen.

Let us just hope that the real essence of modernizing the elections, that to ensure a credible and honest elections from precincts level up to the last destination prior to the proclamation of the real winner will really come true.

Let us give this maiden attempt to be at par with other countries in terms of keeping abreast with technology our vigilant support. Let us go out and vote and hope that our next leaders will really be true to their promises of improving our standard of living.

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You can access DepEd Updates, latest issuances and other relevant information through our website: http://www.region11.Deped.gov.ph. For comments, suggestions and/or contributions, email me at renzthescribe@gmail.com. or visit http://renzmendoza.multiply.com. for photos and other relevant information. For queries, complains and other concerns, call DepEd-11 (Davao Region) at (082) 227-9342 or fax to (082) 227-1102.

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Mr. Lorenzo E. Mendoza, M.A. is the Regional Supervisor in Filipino for Secondary, Regional Information Officer, Regional ICT and Library Hub Coordinator.