Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Final COMELEC Briefing for BEIs

Based on COMELEC Notice, Acting EO for Indanan during May 9 Elections, Hja. Lilia A. Gaspar convened with Sir “Sam” Samoore S. Ladjahali Public Schools District Supervisor of Indanan South District and Dr. Garcia B. Paradji, District In-Charge of Indanan North District at the Office of the COMELEC, Capitol Site, Patikul, Sulu last May 2, 2016. An important highlight taken was the conduct of final orientation for all assigned BEIs of both districts distributed into 34 barangays of Indanan Municipality. Hja. Lilia A. Gaspar handed the final list of BEIs to the 2 district heads as a basis of the identification of teachers serving as BEIs.

At Upper Kajatian Elementary School, Km. 2, Kajatian, Indanan, Sulu, May 5, 2016, 9:00 AM, the final briefing commenced. Hja. Lilia A. Gaspar, Acting EO started to discuss COMELEC Resolution No. 10057 before 165 of BEIs after she requested ISD PSDS to invoke Allah's Mercy thru Suratul Fatiha'. She emphasized thoroughly those details that simplified Do’s and Dont’s for every member of the Board of Election Inspector before, during and after election day.

As Hja. Gaspar paused, she signaled if any queries from the audience. DIC of Indanan North District raised his hand with a beautiful question that ran in the following lines.

“Can the BEIs vote in the precincts where they are assigned respectively?” asked the DIC.

EO Gaspar answered, “Yes, in a time when you have no voters yet.” “You may go to your precinct where you are registered. But be sure your assigned precinct is free from any disturbance or else you may be answerable in your absence” she added. She further explained that something wrong with the assignment of BEIs submitted by the PSDS or District In-Charge. According to her, every teacher must be assigned in the barangays where they are officially registered so that BEIs may vote in time of election. Yet, she further said that voter who would not be able to vote for 3 consecutive elections would be erased from the list of voters.

“Any more questions?” Acting EO wanted more something to be clarified before she would go back to her office for very important preparation. She turned her head to Sir Moore with a microphone in her hand asking, “How about this one, silent Supervisor?”

Sir Sam stood with a smile as he received the microphone from the Election Officer. PSDS Moore uttered his remarks in a manner of clarification and response to the comment of EO over the BEI Assignment prepared by the District Supervisor:

“I would just like to respond to the strong suggestion of Ma’am Hja. Lilia A. Gaspar, Acting EO over the appropriate assignment of teachers that would serve as BEIs. In Indanan South District, there are barangays having no schools like 1. Bangalan; 2. Jati Tunggal; 3. Kabbonmaas; 4. Tubig Parang; 5. Kandang Tukay; 6. Tumantangis; 7. Lambayong; 8. Katian; and 9. Panglima Misuari (Sasak). Naturally, assigning teachers from other barangays is surely expected. Besides, most of the teachers in Indanan South District are not officially registered in the Municipality of Indanan. Several of them are registrants in Jolo. BEIs could hardly vote during election even though they are registered in Indanan except those teachers performing their teaching profession in the school located in their barangays. Only few of my teachers are assigned by DepED in the schools located in their barangays. Lawfully, every BEI is only given 20 minutes to go to their precincts for voting. There are 5 polling centers in Indanan, namely: 1. Bato-Bato Elementary School; 2. Upper Kajatian Elementary School; 3. Panglima Mammah Elementary School; 4. Panglima Indanan Central School; and 5. Pasil Elementary School. Every polling place covers the distance of more ore less 5 kilometers away. I think 20 minutes are not enough for the BEIs to go for voting in their respective barangays. If it is, abstention for 3 consecutive election might be possible to happen among BEIs. Definitely, erasure of the BEIs’ names in the list of voters soon to occur. For this reason, I strongly recommend to the higher authorities of COMELEC and DepED to sit together for this issue, thank you.”

Acting Election Officer reminded the BEIs to be in their respective polling centers on May 6, 2016 for the FTS (Final Testing and Sealing) She underscored a big stress on re-zero of VCM after FTS for several times but NOT to be done after the closing of votes on May 9, 2016. All Chairmen and Poll Clerks already underwent training how to operate the VCM last February, 2016. Accordingly, P 2,000.00 honorarium was also given to the trainees. However, EO Gaspar still reminded the trained BEIs to be mindful with their knowledge and skill in the operation of VCM to ensure orderly, successfully and honest May 9, 2016 Elections.

Afterwards, COMELEC Support Staff spearheaded by Muzakkir Sappari distributed IDs of BEIs based on their names and position reflected in the final list. PSDS Moore noticed exchange, replacement and new faces appeared in the final list used by the Support Staff in calling the names of the assigned BEIs. Some names were omitted in the list and replaced by those names that were not visible in the original list prepared by Sir Sam. Thus, distribution of BEIs’ ID for the Chairman, Poll Clerk and Third Member encountered congestion.

The PSDS of ISD got the microphone and harshly talked that the original list he submitted to the office of the COMELEC changed. He wondered why it did. He explained that during the conduct of the first orientation for BEIs he was on official travel to Cotabato City. Exchange and swapping of assignment was agreed among BEIs whose COMELEC was unaware of it. There were teachers recommended friends and relatives to the COMELEC to serve in the elections. There were school heads made the such arrangement with other teachers. COMELEC was so hectic that was why BIEs list changed. It was to the knowledge of the PSDS some retired teachers wanted their sons, daughters, relatives be assigned as BEIs because of honorarium but Sir Moore did not entertain those in so far as experience was concerned. Sir Sam was in apprehension of assigning inexperienced Third Member otherwise it would affect the performance of the teachers during elections.

“It doesn’t mean we don’t serve volunteer teachers or students. Election is very clear to us. . . BEIs should be full of patience, perseverance, and kind-heartedness because most of the politicians’ people do many strategies inside the polling place just to cash a vote to whom they want. Teachers are already used to that situation. We must be aware of some persons serving as BEIs cause problems inside the voting center. Yes, we can also try them provided I am consulted and notified by the COMELEC for whatever changes made in my list of BEIs. Or, you can never entrust me to assign teachers as BEI if consultation and notification won’t be done by the COMELEC. Please, convey my request to the EO of Indanan Municipality for the harmony of our BEIs in serving the elections” the PSDS appealed.

Lastly, COMELEC Support Staff asked Sir Moore to add more advice for the BEIs’ duties and responsibilities. The PSDS stood again for few important words on counterchecking the election paraphernalia very well as they would receive it from the COMELEC personnel. He stressed much on comparison of the listing with evident items on election supplies to avoid lack and excess of materials needed in the election. BEIs were also advised by the PSDS to inform the COMELEC personnel whom they receive such paraphernalia before they should do the counterchecking.

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