PH has enough teachers should 2022 election voting hours be extended: Briones

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2020 04:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2020 06:55 PM

Election officers assist a policeman during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls in Manila, May 14, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— Education Secretary Leonor Briones said Friday there would be enough public school teachers to man polling precincts in case the 2022 elections would be spread over several days as a precaution against COVID-19.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) earlier said that voting in the next national elections may be extended by 2 to 3 days to ensure that there would be social distancing in polling precincts to avoid the spread of COVID-19.

"We have 900,000 teachers... Last year, practically all - except those who are unable to physically participate - volunteered to be part of the process," Briones said during the Department of Education's budget hearing in the Senate.

"I would imagine that if there is a decision - especially if it is covered by law - our teachers will participate [in manning polling precincts]," she said.

"There would be sufficient [teachers even if 2022 elections are extended]," she said.

While teachers serve as the primary election officers every national and midterm polls, "the law also provides that if the number of teachers will not be sufficient, other sectors can be brought in," the education chief said.

Several senators earlier warned that tinkering with election day may be deemed unconstitutional as the Constitution provides that voting should only be done on the second Monday of May every 3 and 6 years.

Having a 2-day election is also more prone to irregularities, a former Comelec official said.