BAGUIO CITY – A bill making it election duty for public school teachers optional has recently passed third and final reading in the House of Representatives, Baguio Rep. NicasioM.aliping Jr. said.
The congressman said the measure, House Bill 5412, has now been transmitted to the Senate for the senators to pass their counterpart measure so the President can sign it into law.
Rep. Aliping who co-authored the measure said that if passed into law, hopefully before the conduct of the May 2016 national and local elections, teachers will no longer be forced to become members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BOI), Special board of election Inspectors (SBOI), Board of Election Tellers (BOT), or Special Board of Election Tellers (SBOT).
Aliping is a member of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms – chaired by Rep. Fredenil H. Castro – which studied five separate but similar proposals together with the House committee on appropriations – chaired by rep. Isidro T. Ungab.
Other co-authors of the bill include Reps. Antonio Tinio; Regina Ongsiako Reyes; Erlinda Santiago; Eric Olivarez; Lawrence Lemuel Fortun; Leni Gerona-Robredo; Edgar Erice; Harlin Abayon; and Emmeline Aglipay Villar.
Suffrage committee chairman Castro said the objective of the measure is “to free school teachers from engaging in compulsory election duties as currently practiced and to open up election service to other government employees, members of the Commission on Election (Comelec)-accredited citizen arms and private citizens of known probity and competence.”
The authors explained that under the bill, should there be a lack of teachers willing, available and qualified to serve, the Comelec may appoint any registered voter in accordance with and order of preference as provided under the proposed statute.
The order of preference is stated as follows: 1) private school teachers; 2) Department of Education’s non-teaching personnel; 3) other national government officials and employees holding regular or permanent positions, excluding members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP); 4) members of the Comelec-accredited citizens arms and other Comelec-accredited civil society organizations and non-government organization; 5) any citizen of known probity and competence who is not involved with any candidate or political party.
It also provides that government employees need not be registered voters of the city or municipality where they wish to serve.
On the other hand, private school teachers, members of citizen’s arms, and other civil society organizations and non-government organization and any citizen of known probity and competence must be registered voters of the city or municipality where they wish to serve./Carl C. Taawan