Comelec trains 10,000 teachers as BEI members

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) is now training more than 10,000 teachers in Eastern Visayas region that will serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in the upcoming May 2013 elections.

Comelec assistant regional director Veronico Petalcorin said the training for BEIs, which will man the region’s 5,135 clustered precincts, has started during the first week of March and will be completed before April.

“We are on track with all our preparations for election officers and teachers. The training for BEIs is about 60 to 70 percent complete,” Petalcorin said.

The Comelec regional office earlier trained the pool of trainers for BEIs, composed of provincial election supervisors, election officers, and board of certifiers.

“The training is almost the same in 2010 but we have to make sure that teachers are well-versed on the use of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines,” he said.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will certify BEI members if they are capable of operating the PCOS machines for the automated polls as one PCOS machine is intended for each of the clustered precincts.

In 2010, the region posted a 93 percent passing rate among the 9,704 BEI who took both the written and practical examinations, according to DOST regional director Edgardo Esperancilla.

The DOST expects a higher passing rate this year with the intensive training. Some BEI members are already aware of the technology.

The BEI is composed of a chairman and a poll clerk, who are public school teachers. The board conducts the voting and counting of votes in their respective polling places and acts as deputies of the Commission in the supervision and control of the election in their assigned polling places.

Eastern Visayas has 2,576,250 registered voters in 4,390 barangays. The Comelec has identified 17,328 precincts clustered into 5,135. At least 3,773 will be used as voting centers in May 13, 2013 polls.

Of the 5,135 clustered precincts, 2,017 are in Leyte province; 1,076 in Samar; 690 in Northern Samar; 605 in Eastern Samar; 578 in Southern Leyte; and 169 in Biliran.

Each of the merged precincts has two BEI members from the Department of Education. They will be augmented by two members, each representing the two accredited political parties.

Meanwhile, Petalcorin said they have been regularly meeting with police and military officials to ensure peace and orderly elections in May.

“We are closely the monitoring the situation in Samar province because it seems that violence is just normal (there) every campaign period and on Election Day,” Petalcorin told Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Samar has been tagged as election hotspot due to its past electoral history of violence, presence of private armed groups, and operations of the rebel group, the New People’s Army. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)
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