MANILA Department of Education (DepEd) personnel, who served in the barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections, received half of their travel allowance right after Monday's elections.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, DepEd Election Task Force Operation and Legal Support head Marcelo Bragado said the rest of the travel allowance was given to the board of electoral tellers when they surrendered the election paraphernalia on Monday.
"Nasa cash cards po ang allowances, as of 5:01 p.m. kahapon. Ang timeline po natin sa pagbigay ng honoraria ay 15 days, so we're really hoping and praying that all honoraria and allowances will be given before the deadline, kasi po hindi maibibigay ng Commission on Elections (Comelec) within 15 days. Makakasuhan sila ng election offense (As of 5 p.m. yesterday, the allowances were already in the cash cards. 15 days is the timeline for the honoraria, so we're really hoping and praying that all honoraria and allowances would be given before the deadline. The Comelec could be charged with an election offense if they are unable to provide them within 15 days)," he said.
DepEd earlier said the first half of the travel allowance was distributed ahead of election day.
Bragado said they have yet to confirm a report saying that "only one or two municipalities have not received the cash cards" and that there are areas where cash cards were not used for the distribution of the travel allowance and honoraria.
"May mga lugar kung saan cash advance from the election officers ang ginagamit. Ito ang mga municipalities na walang automated teller machines (There were places where cash advance from election officers were used. These are the municipalities without ATMs)," he said.
With regard to the total number of public school teachers who served during the elections, Bragado said Comelec has yet to provide the exact figures to DepEd.
"Comelec said they will only be able to see the number of teachers once the honoraria and allowances were downloaded to the cash cards. Basically, they'll have the figures at the end of this day (Tuesday)," he said.
Despite the reported harassment of teachers in some areas, Bragado said the recently concluded election was "generally peaceful."
"There was (an) incident of ballot grabbing in Datu Saudi Ampatuan and the police, military had to take over. Of course, we don't want to expose our teachers to violence so they can back out as stated under the revised election law, he said.
Meanwhile, the Teacher's Dignity Coalition said teachers from the Malabon City Division stayed up until 7 a.m. Tuesday, waiting to be cleared by Comelec.
"Natanggap namin ang report kanina mga 5 a.m. May isang teacher in Malabon na inilagay ang election returns certificate sa ballot box na hindi dapat, based sa instructions. Pero naayos na ito ng election officer ng Malabon (Yes, we have received that report at about 5 a.m. earlier. A teacher in Malabon placed the election returns certificate in the ballot box, which is a violation of the instructions, but this has been handled by the election officer of Malabon)," Bragado said.
He added that DepEd-Malabon provided food and water to the teachers who had to pull an all-nighter to protect the ballots and return the election paraphernalia. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency