In every election, while the Filipino voters struggle to apply their skills at shoving and pushing their fellow voters to get near the posted voter’s list to search for their names where sometimes these are mysteriously missing and test their patience waiting in long queues.
On the other hand, there are these unsung heroes who get ready and prepare themselves for the dangerous work of public servants in the polling places. That is to serve as Board of Election Tellers (BETs).
During the 2007 National Elections, public school teacher Nellie Banag was killed after bonnet wearing gunmen burned a schoolhouse somewhere in Batangas province. In the 1995 elections, teacher Filomena Tatlonghari was shot and killed for valiantly refusing to give a ballot box to armed men probably goons of a running candidate who wanted to alter the election results. The two are among the countless teachers who were victims of election-related violence.
Aside from taking on the noble profession that contributes much to the molding of society, teachers are that somebody who take the job to make sure that the elections will push through and the voice of the populace prevail in the selection of the leaders from the national government level to the barangay level. They bravely face dangers like that of being killed just to guard and protect the sanctity of the ballot.
Tomorrow is the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections 2010.
It is sad to learn that the government did not response positively to the demands of the teachers for an increased and just compensation for the additional and dangerous job as BETs. Currently, the government is giving a P1, 000 per day to the teachers who will serve as BETs when the teachers feel and demand P2, 000 a day is fair.
In striving for clean and credible results in every election, factors prior to election day itself should be considered. From the materials to be used, the physical set-up of the polling places, and assurance of security, our teachers personally take on to check and make sure these are done before thay do their part of the election process. They are at the forefront of making democracy work. Yet government actually belittles this service in concrete terms of rewarding them unjust wages.
Is this the “daang matuwid”? Is this the kind of recognition our state gives to defenders of democracy? Among them our teachers. # nordis.net