Teachers manning the May 10 polls are info tech-capable — DepEd

May 3, 2010 7:17 pm 

By Hannibal C. Talete

MANILA, May 3 – The Department of Education (DepEd) assured on Monday at least one of the three members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in every precinct nationwide has the capability to perform the task professionally in the historic first automated elections in the country on May 10.

The assurance was made after 137,200 teachers were certified as information technology-capable by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), posting an average passing rate of 91 percent.

“The DOST Certification Program for BEIs is an important step to ensure the success of the first automated elections in the country. With all the trainings and seminars they had, our teachers are fully prepared to perform their electoral duties,” Education Secretary Mona Valisno said.

Identified BEIs across the country, including in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and those in Singapore and Hong Kong, took the written and actual tests on the operation of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine administered by DOST.

“Hopefully, this certification will reduce, if not take away any doubts for the coming May elections and boost our confidence for an orderly election,” Valisno added.

DepEd also conducted a training/orientation on automated elections among its administrative and legal officers around the country to enhance their awareness and readiness for the elections.

The DOST Certification Program for Board of Election Inspectors is pursuant to the Amended Law on Automated Election System or Republic Act No. 9369.

Meanwhile, Valisno reminded all school heads of DepEd Order No. 10, Series of 2010, that outlines the “Clean Schools, Clean Elections Campaign” of the government.

She observed that schools are usually plastered with posters in anticipation of the deluge of voters on Election Day.

“We appeal to incumbent local officials, the police and concerned citizens to help us keep our schools free of campaign materials,” she said.

For his part, DepEd Assistant Secretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya also reminded school heads to place a warning sign at a prominent location on school premises as required by the order.

“It is stated that the signage should read, “In compliance with DepEd policy, this school prohibits the posting of campaign materials in school premises. Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Malaya said.

“We are reminding our division superintendents and school heads to place the signage immediately and to remove all campaign posters, otherwise they will be subject to disciplinary action where applicable,” he added.

He said as per instruction of the DepEd secretary, monitoring teams will be organized in every region and shall report to the nearest DepEd Division or Regional Office.

Complainants may also report the matter directly to the Office of Undersecretary Franklin Sunga at 633-7205 or call the DepEd Action Center at 636-1663 or send a text message to 0919-456-0027.

Earlier, Valisno warned teachers to remain neutral in the May 10 elections, saying any violators will face administrative charges.

“I call on the entire department, especially the superintendents who will serve in the Board of Canvassers, and the teachers who will serve in the Board of Election Inspectors in the various precincts nationwide to preserve the integrity and dignity of the education sector by not engaging directly or indirectly in electioneering or any partisan political activity except to vote,” Valisno said in her order.

Valisno said she wants all DepEd employees to be role models among all government employees and as such, they should maintain utmost impartiality and neutrality in exercising their official functions during the conduct of the elections.

She added that all DepEd employees found to be engaged in electioneering will be administratively charged and subject to disciplinary action under Civil Service Law and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The automated election system (AES) which among others features the first nationwide use of the PCOS machines reduces the Board of Election Inspector (BEI) requirement from 800,000 to about 250,000 teachers. (PNA) scs/HCT

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