MANILA — A teacher was gunned down in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, a day before she was set to serve as a poll worker in Monday's national and local elections, the Department of Education (DepEd) said.
Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua, who heads the agency's election task force, identified the victim as Mercy Miguel, a teacher at Himamaylan National High School.
"She was pronounced [dead on arrival at the hospital]," he told reporters.
In a statement, the DepEd condemned the killing of the teacher.
"Though it is unclear yet if such brutality was election-related, we denounce any acts of violence and injustice towards our teachers, who have dedicated their lives to the Filipino children and are now selflessly serving the country in this year’s election," the department said.
Pascua has been coordinating with local officials to look into the killing and provide support to the victim's family, the DepEd said.
The agency urged authorities in the province "to deliver swift justice for such heinous crime against our dearly departed colleague" and renewed calls for law enforcement agencies "to protect our teachers, poll workers, and voters."
In an online press conference, Pascua described the killing as the first "violent incident" reported to the DepEd's election task force.
The second is a shooting incident at an elementary school in Buluan, Maguindanao, he said.
At least 2 teachers' group also condemned the killing.
In a statement, the Teachers' Dignity Coalition called on President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure justice.
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers criticized the Commission on Elections for supposedly "failing to install sufficient measures to secure the members of the electoral board against harassment and other forms of violence."
More than 647,000 teaching and non-teaching personnel from the DepEd are serving in this year's elections, data from the agency showed.