VP Sara Duterte presses Comelec to settle teachers’ poll pay and ensure their safety


VICE President and Education Secretary Sara Z. Duterte on Thursday proposed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) the payment of teachers in advance before they are mandated to carry on with their poll duties.

“We owe it to them to ensure the safe and credible conduct of vote canvassing. Baka naman, sa amin lang from the Department of Education, mauna ’yung bayad sa mga teachers namin bago ang election [teachers should be paid first before the election],” Duterte said before Comelec stakeholders at the 2023 National Election Summit at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza.

Duterte lamented that public school teachers spend long and tedious hours in polling precincts have been requesting for advance and proper compensation.

“Of course, bumabyahe sila, kumakain sila, and may gastusin din sila [they are paying for their fare, they eat, and they also need to spend on something] during the days na [that] they are serving the country. Baka lang i-advance [Maybe we can have it in advance], or it can be a consideration, or plan for future elections na mauna ’yung payments or ’yung compensation para sa ating mga teachers [payments should be given first or the compensation for our teachers].”

Ensure safety of teachers

Duterte also called on the Comelec to ensure the safety of the teachers serving during elections.

“Minsan, ang mga guro ay tinatakot ng mga mga warlord politicians at ginagawang kasangkapan sa kanilang pandaraya [Sometimes the teachers are being threatened by warlord politicians and instrument in fraud],” Duterte said, adding that these incidents usually happen in remote areas known to be controlled by politicians’ private armies that are hard to fight.

“Pero kailangan nating ipakita na mas mahirap pong kalaban ang mga taong gobyerno katulad ng mga pulis at mga sundalo because they represent the government. [But we should show that it is more difficult to fight people in the government like police and soldiers because they represent the government],” she said.

Duterte said the electoral process can move to something better than shading or writing on the ballots, suggesting technological processes such as fingerprints, face, and eye scanning to ensure the validity of the people’s votes.

Avenue for discussions

Duterte lauded the Comelec for conducting the National Election Summit as an avenue for discussions on improving the electoral process in the country.

“I am truly happy that there is this summit that is led by the Commission on Election to discuss how we can improve this democratic process so that the will of the people is clear, and the choice of the people is the one who is declared the winner,” Duterte said.