ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio yesterday filed a bill making election service voluntary for public school teachers.
House Bill 4096, “An Act Amending Section 13 of Republic Act No. 6646, Otherwise Known as ‘The Electoral Reforms Law of 1987,’ Making Election Service Voluntary for Public School Teachers and Other Citizens,” takes away the legal obligation of public school teachers to serve on the Commission on Election’s Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). The bill stipulates that BEIs shall be composed of volunteers, with preference given to public school teachers, private school teachers, employees in the civil service, and citizens of known probity and competence.
“Voluntary instead of mandatory election service has long been the call of public school teachers nationwide,” said Tinio.
“For decades, teachers have borne the legally-mandated burden of serving during elections. Facing difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances and meager compensation, teachers have made personal sacrifices over and above the call of duty,” said Tinio.
He cited the case of teacher Filomena Tatlonghari, who was shot and killed in Mabini, Batangas, in 1995 for refusing to surrender a ballot box to armed men. In the 2007 elections, teacher Nelly Banaag died protecting the ballots after masked armed men torched two classrooms which served as polling precincts in Taysan, Batangas.
“It’s about time that we alleviate the plight of public school teachers, who are already hard-pressed to provide quality education to our youth, in the face of low pay and difficult working conditions. They should be given the option to choose whether or not to serve during elections.”
Source: ACT Partylist / QCPSTA