IN A worst-case scenario, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) might have to tap private school teachers to be part of the Electoral Board (EB) in the southern town of San Fernando.
Acting Cebu Provincial Elections Supervisor Jerome Brillantes, though, remains hopeful that public school teachers will continue to manifest intent to serve in the May 13 polls.
“On a case-to-case basis, we could get to that point. But our EO (election officer) assured me that we don’t need to worry because many teachers are willing to serve,” Brillantes said on Friday, Feb. 15.
Around 20 public school teachers refused to be part of the EB because they do not want to be caught in the political tension following the murders of San Fernando elected officials last month.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 Director Debold Sinas, however, assured that they would secure the teachers in San Fernando who felt afraid to serve in the midterm elections.
Sinas said the Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) officials told the teachers during a meeting last Feb. 9 that they will be all safe in the elections on May 13.
The police official ordered the CPPO to go after members of armed groups because they might be used by candidates in intimidating their opponents.
Brillantes also stood pat on his claim that the Comelec can still manage and that the withdrawal of the 20 teachers is not alarming.
In San Fernando, EO Renante Angcos said at least 10 public school teachers had recently manifested their willingness to serve as part of the EB.
“There are positive developments because there are those outside the list in December who manifested that they would serve. I’m hopeful that we can still tap public school teachers to serve and we won’t need to go to private schools,” Angcos said.
Angcos said the district schools supervisor of San Fernando has informed him that there are more than 400 public school teachers in the town.
Records at the Comelec Provincial Office reveal that the town needs only 177 EBs to serve in 21 polling centers.
As of Friday afternoon, the Department of Education is still finalizing the list of public school teachers who will be part of the EB.
A peace covenant, though, still has to be signed among San Fernando political aspirants.
Angcos said he and the town’s police chief and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) have agreed to put it off because tension was still high among the town’s political groups.
Meanwhile, political aspirants at the provincial level will sign a peace covenant at the St. Francis of Assisi Parish Church in the City of Naga on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
The activity is initiated by the Cebu Provincial Police Office, while representatives from the media, DILG, religious sector, academe, Philippine Army and other stakeholders will stand as witnesses during the event. (RTF, with AYB of Superbalita Cebu, KAL)