“Gusto po nating pasalamatan ng lubos ang lahat ng ating mga gurong naglingkod sa mapayapang BSKE 2023 (We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all our teachers who served in the peaceful BSKE 2023),” DepEd Undersecretary and Spokesperson Michael Poa said in a Viber message sent to the Manila Bulletin.
Poa also reminded those who may have had accidents or incurred injuries to report them to their respective division offices for medical reimbursement claims.
Ensuring teachers’ safety
In a separate statement, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) lauded teacher-poll workers for their BSKE service.
The group noted that more than 400,000 teachers served and became part of the Board of Election Inspectors and Canvassers. “Their service and commitment to this year’s BSKE contributed to the successful conduct of the election,” ACT said.
ACT National Chairperson Vladimer Quetua, however, stressed that even though teachers and other poll workers have “consistently served” in every election, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has not yet “comprehensively ensured the safety, protection, and good working environments for them during the electoral process.”
Quetua pointed out that this year’s BSKE still had numerous recorded incidents that put teacher poll workers “at risk while they performed their duties.”
Welfare of teachers as poll workers
The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), for its part, underscored the need to pay better attention to the welfare of teachers who serve in the elections.
“Hindi pa lubos na natatapos ang trabaho ng ating mga guro, subalit halos naiproklama na ang mga nagwaging kandidato para sa 2023 BSKE (Majority of the winning candidates for the 2023 BSKE have already been proclaimed but the work of our teachers is not yet over,) TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas said.
Citing its monitoring, TDC said the election “was generally peaceful.” Despite a few reported incidents, which can be “considered isolated,” the group noted that “overall, teachers now feel lower tension and increased security.”
TDC, however, pointed out that many teachers still endured extreme hardship, fatigue, and sleepless nights — especially when returning election documents and paraphernalia to the COMELEC offices.
Given this, TDC urged the COMELEC to focus on the “systematic retrieval” of election paraphernalia that will not require teachers and other poll workers to travel, endure fatigue, and stay up all night, putting them at risk.
Moreover, TDC said that the extra work of teachers should also be compensated. “Marahil dapat lamang bigyan ng overtime pay ang nga gurong dumanas ng ganitong delay upang mabigyan naman ng kompensasyon ang kanilang pagod at puyat (Perhaps it’s only fair to provide overtime pay to teachers who experience such delays, in order to compensate for their fatigue and sleepless nights),” he added.
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