MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Education (DepEd) is seeking to expedite the release of payments to teachers who will serve as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in the upcoming May 13 polls, an official said Tuesday.
In an interview with "Mornings@ANC," DepEd Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said the P4,000 allowance of teachers will now go straight to their automated teller machine (ATM) cards.
"Our teachers get their salaries through Landbank ATMs. So if they do have Landbank ATMs, the P3,000 allowance on election day plus P500 one-time transportation allowance plus another P500 for the testing and sealing of the PCOS machines for a total of P4,000 will go straight to their Landbank ATMs," he said.
"If they don't have Landbank ATMs for whatever reason, they will get Landbank cash cards. So that's a way of trying to improve or expediting the release of their money," he added.
Umali noted, however, that only P1,000 will be released before May 13. He said the P3,000 allowance will be released a day or a week after the elections, adding that the basis of its release will be the teachers' "actual service on the day of elections."
"In the past, there were instances where teachers for some reasons will not be able to report as BEI members. What will happen if they get paid?"
DepEd forms election task force
Last week, the DepEd formed an election task force to support some 240,000 public school teachers who will man polling precincts on May 13.
The 146-man task force aims to educate teachers, DepEd officials and employees in connection with their poll-related duties.
In coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Umali said they will make sure all teachers will be safe and protected.
He said they will also check on teachers who are under threat from politicians, noting that the DepEd has entered into a "memorandum of understanding with the [Integrated Bar of the Philippines] and [Public Attorney's Office] to help our teachers more in the hopefully unlikely event that somebody will sue them or harass them with some losses just for performing their election-related duties."
Umali also said that in case a teacher dies while performing his or her duty, the family will receive P200,000 insurance.
Teachers underwent training
Meanwhile, Umali said he is confident that all teachers will be able to perform their duties well in the May 13 polls since they have already undergone training and seminars, which were sponsored by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
He said the training taught teachers how to operate precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, how to deal with loss of signal and how to assist voters.
Umali said that before May 13, members of the BEIs will have to test the PCOS machines.
"They will try for example, ten persons will actually vote. These ballots will be fed to the PCOS machine and they will now tally these using the PCOS machine. They will open the PCOS machine and will manually check if [the results] coincide with the actual vote cast by the supposed voters," he said.