- JOHAIRA SAHIDALA, Bangsamoro Information Office (BARMM-BIO)
DAVAO CITY—The Bangsamoro Government and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have joined hands to guarantee the safety and support of teachers serving as members of the Electoral Board in the upcoming Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) on October 30.
On Thursday, Oct. 19, Minister of Basic, Higher, and Technical Education (MBHTE) Minister Mohagher M. Iqbal, Comelec Chairman George Erwin Garcia, Comelec Executive Director Atty. Teopisto Elnas, Jr., and Bangsamoro Attorney-General and Member of Parliament (MP) Atty. Sha Elijah Dumama-Alba signed the memorandum of agreement (MOA) here at Dusit Thani Hotel, solidifying their commitment to protect the educators during the electoral process.
“Through this Memorandum of Agreement, we affirm our commitment to support and protect our teachers who willingly step up to serve during the election period. We must provide them with the necessary support, training, and protection to carry out their electoral duties without fear or intimidation,” Iqbal assured.
He emphasized the vital role of teachers in the successful conduct of the elections despite the dangers they face.
“Their (teachers) integrity and dedication are essential in upholding the sanctity of the electoral process, which is the cornerstone of a democratic society,” Iqbal.
Public schools across the Bangsamoro region will be utilized as voting centers during elections, with classrooms serving as polling precincts due to their ample and desirable space, wide availability, convenient location, and accessibility to the people.
MOA signing signifies a collective commitment of Comelec, BARMM
Accordingly, the Comelec will pay the honoraria and allowances of each service personnel and will receive Php9,000 to Php10,000.
“As frontline government representatives who will ensure the smooth running of the electoral process, we have increased their honorarium as we will be conducting a manual election, which will lead them to render more services during the election,” Garcia emphasized.
He also mentioned that the BARMM Government of the Day has a crucial contribution to a smooth and unbiased election.
“We will always consult and connect with the BARMM government, especially those in charge in school division for us to prepare, provide materials and be informed (of) what’s happening in polling areas during the BSK election,” Garcia added.
Maguindanao II School Division Superintendent Bai Mariam Kawit expressed her gratitude to both parties for the initiative to protect and show concern for the safety and welfare of field teachers.
“As a school head, I’ll keep in touch and remind them that as much as possible they must avoid these politicians during the election campaign and should remain non-partisan,” Kawit said.
The MOA signing signifies a collective commitment focused on a framework that ensures that the rights and well-being of teachers, supervisors, administrators, and other educational stakeholders are upheld and provided with legal assistance.
The Bangsamoro region, established in 2018 by the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to implement the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), is made up of the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Sur, Maguindanao del Norte, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, the cities of Cotabato, Lamitan, and Marawi, as well as the Special Geographic Area’s (SGA) 63 barangays or villages that voted “Yes” in a plebiscite in February 2019 to be under the BARMM jurisdiction.
According to the Philippine Atlas BARMM has 4,404,288 people. It has 116 municipalities: Basilan, 11 municipalities; Lanao del Sur, 39; undivided Maguindanao, 36; Sulu, 19; and Tawi-Tawi, 11. Its component cities are Cotabato (the regional center and capital) in Maguindanao; Lamitan in Basilan; and Marawi in Lanao del Sur. (✓)