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Thursday, February 15, 2007

It is election season once again. We can already feel the election fever on tv with all those campaign materials in advertisements. While I was at the computer last night, one of those ads was on and I heard my eldest daughter complain. Something like "arghh, not that again." I was thinking, maybe, there goes one vote.
Anyway, the question of teachers manning the polls is once again the topic in our forum at the PTN. Apparently, there has been a move to spare teachers from this mandate from the constitution. I received from my email a link to a news in the House of Representatives of a proposal to relieve teachers from this mandate, which incidentally was passed in 2005 yet. It goes something like this:
TO ALLOW public school teachers to concentrate fully on their teaching duties, thereby improving the quality of education in the country, Marinduque Representative Edmundo Reyes Jr. filed House Bills 2864 and 2898 seeking to release them from compulsory election duties.

While this is good news to teachers, for I am sure, they do not need this thankless job (added to teaching which can also be a thankless job altogether...sometimes) the task has always been the cause of heartaches and headaches, if not totally puts the teachers in danger. I can only imagine hot spots where candidates kill themselves just to get elected. I have heard of stories about teachers subjected to harassment by candidates and/or their minions during election time. And yes, the sleepless nights counting the ballots, taking these to the municipal hall, etc.
Eusebio San Diego, president of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association, informed the body of the negative consequences arising from the compulsory service imposed upon public school teachers during election time.
The teachers, he said, are confronted with election offenses aside from fatigue, lack of sleep and overwork. Others are gunned down or exposed to other election-related violence, he added.

While I agree with Rep. Eulogio "Amang" Magsaysay that the teachers must focus their attention on improving the quality of education in the country, yet, I have been thinking, if not the teachers, then who? The best scenario would be volunteers but then, how sure can we be that these volunteers are not partisan in nature? Would they be as subjective? It would be easy for a candidate to fill the vacancy with his/her own people. In this scenario, we are assured that the election could easily be rigged. The only solution I can think of is automated elections. But that is a long time coming.

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Blogger the amateur misanthrope said...

I say, BRAVO to the public school teachers, one of the--if not the--most overworked and underpaid workers in a government where sinecure positions abound.

10:26 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

amateur misanthrope And I say, amen! Thanks for commenting.

6:14 AM  
Blogger ipanema said...

That's good analysis. If not the teachers, then who? I would feel safer with teachers manning the polling areas than volunteers who are sometimes campaigning for certain candidates on the very day at their own polling centres!

Can the teachers be given allowance and receive it on the last day? I just hope there'll be some forms of extra pay for service rendered. If some politicians can buy [assuming...kuno] votes, why not give something to the teachers?

9:15 AM  
Blogger yllor said...

ipanema hirap din kasi. minsan delikado.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Major Tom said...

I can relate much with this issue coz I have this teacher aunt who had once before lamented how teachers in elections time get to put in harms way and yet at times, they could still be blamed for cheating or creating false reports. It was so hard she said.

But in my mind, our techers have really done a good job over the years and aside from them, there are no other entities that we can trust to handle our ballots.

5:57 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Major Tom Kudos to your aunt. My sister who had taught before also had her share of nightmare everytime she was on poll-duty. It's really very hard.

5:41 AM  

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