800 teachers back out of poll duty in 3 Mindanao provinces

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MANILA - Some 800 teachers have backed out from election duty due to security risks in the southern provinces of Lanao Del Norte, Lanao Del Sur and Maguindanao.

Education Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali said around 200 policemen with special training will take up the posts of these teachers in the board of election inspectors (BEI), by virtue of Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution 10122.

"Iyung mga kaguruan po nating dapat magsisilbing BEI sa mga lugar na iyan ay hindi mangyayari at ang kapulisan po natin ang magsisilbi natin. Especially trained na po ang siyang magsisilbing board of election inspectors," Umali told radio dzMM.

Umali said the three provinces have been identified as election hotspots or areas with intense political rivalry and high incidence of election-related violence.

The Education official thanked the Comelec for readily allowing the 800 teachers to withdraw from the BEI although the law making election duty optional is not yet fully implemented.

"All credit should be given to our Comelec. Although our law making the service of our teachers as members of the BEI not mandatory ay hindi pa po talaga fully implemented, hindi po naging mahirap sa ating mga kaguruan ang pagtanggi sa pagsisilbi," he said. "Talaga pong peligroso ang mga lugar na nabanggit natin."

READ: PNoy inks law making poll duty optional for teachers

Umali also assured that the policemen who will serve in the BEI have proper training for facilitating the polls. "Handang-handa po tayo by tomorrow (Monday)," he said.

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