PRIVATE TEACHERS IN CEBU EYED TO SERVE IN MAY 13 POLLS
TEACHERS IN HOT SPOTS. Commission on Election (Comelec) 7 (Central Visayas) Regional Director Rafael Olaño urges public school teachers to serve in May 13, 2019 midterm elections, despite placing their town as hot spot area. (Photo courtesy of PIA-3 Facebook page)
CEBU CITY — The top election officer in Central Visayas on Friday said his office has prepared contingency measures allowed by law if some public school teachers would not participate in the May 13 midterm polls in the town of San Fernando, Cebu province.
Commission on Elections (Comelec-7) Regional Director Rafael Olaño made the statement as he dispelled fears of public school teachers from San Fernando, who refused to serve as electoral boards after the town was placed under the “red” category of possible hot spots in the region.
“Hindi dapat matakot ang mga teachers na mag-serve. It (hot spot) doesn’t mean na intention natin na takutin sila (They should not be afraid to serve. It doesn’t mean that it is an intention to scare them),” said Olaño in a radio interview.
Olaño said declaring an area as hotspot during elections is to give more attention to the polls, with the aim of preventing a repeat of a previous violence.
More police and military men will be placed in order to secure a hotspot area with a history of violent incidents, he added.
Olaño, however, said the Comelec is ready to hire teachers from private schools as a contingency measure.
If private school teachers would also refuse also to serve, he said that they will tap government employees from different public offices to sit in the electoral boards.
“While it’s in the law that we cannot compel public school teachers to serve (in the electoral boards), the law always provides for measures in employing other individuals who are able and willing to serve,” Olaño said.
The regional election official’s reaction came after a report that 20 public school teachers expressed their refusal to serve, following the Jan. 22 ambush incident, which injured their mayor, Lakambini Reluya, and killed her husband Ricardo, who was the Association of Barangay Council president.
Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 (Central Visayas) regional director, Chief Supt. Debold Sinas, on Tuesday declared the towns of San Fernando and Tuburan as election hotspots due to intense political rivalry, possible presence of armed groups, and history of violence. (PNA)