More than 21K teachers to assist in May 13 elections

THE final testing and sealing of the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) and Voter Registration Verification Machines (VRVM) was conducted at the Apolinario Mabini Elementary School in Iloilo City in preparation for the May 13, 2019 midterm elections. (Emme Rose Santiagudo)

By: Emme Rose Santiagudo

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Western Visayas said more than 21, 000 teachers will render election duties on May 13, 2019.

According to Comelec-6 Director Jose Nick Mendros, the more than 21,000 teachers will be deployed to the 7,109 clustered precincts in the region.

In an interview on Thursday, Dr. Lea Belleza, regional information officer of the Department of Education (DepEd), assured that they are ready to fulfill their election day tasks.

“The DepEd is prepared as always and the teachers are all well-oriented with their tasks. DepEd is ready to accept their fellow Ilonggos who will exercise their right to vote on Monday,” she said.

Belleza added that all schools in the region that will serve as the polling precincts on Monday are also ready.

A task force composed of the division and regional offices of DepEd will be receiving election-related concerns and issues, according to Belleza.

“We have a task force and the division offices will be receiving issues and concerns from the grounds. Then, the regional office will receive all consolidated reports and if there is a need to intervene, we can act on it. It’s a 24/7 monitoring,” she said.

As part of their security measures, Belleza said they will be utilizing Facebook Workplace and election monitoring application.

“During our conference in Cebu, they introduced as an app where we can instantly report and upload cases of harassment on teachers,” she said.

On May 10, 2019, Comelec led the simultaneous final testing and sealing of Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and Voter Registration Verification Machines (VRVM) in the region.

Atty. Mavil Majarucon-Sia, Iloilo City Elections Officer, said the main purpose of the activity is to check if there are malfunctions on the machines and provide the necessary repair or contingency/replacement units.

“The main purpose is so that we can have an idea if there are machines that are not working so at least if something went wrong, we still have enough time to make the necessary repair or provide them with contingency units,” Sia said.

Mendros said there are 7,109 clustered precincts and 3,554 voting centers in the region

“We have 7,109 clustered precincts. In Aklan, we have 560, Antique (710), Capiz (745), Iloilo (2,572),  Guimaras (169) and Negros Occidental (2,353),” he said.

Each of the clustered precincts will have a VCM while the VRVMs will only be used in the province and city of Iloilo and Negros Occidental.

Meanwhile, Mendros assured that they have sufficient contingency/replacement election machines.

“We have 741 contingency units in the region and once there are failures on our machines, we are more than ready to respond,” he said.

A total of 4,808,839 voters from the region are expected to troop down the voting centers on Monday, based on the data from Comelec-6.

Aklan has 390,360 voters; Antique, 371,244; Capiz, 513,329; Iloilo, 1,525,168; Guimaras, 119,538; and Negros Occidental, 1,889,200.