COTABATO CITY – Education and poll officials in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will ensure the protection of the rights of teachers serving in next year’s elections.
“Yes, we are doing this as early as this time for our teachers,” Minister Mohagher Iqbal of the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) – BARMM, told reporters here Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Iqbal signed the MOA during an online meeting attended by Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioners Marlon Cascuejo, Antonio Kho, and Aimee Ferolino, Comelec Executive Director Bartolome Sinocruz Jr., Comelec Director for Personnel Margaret Ching, Comelec-BARMM Director Monalisa Mamukid, and other MBHTE personnel.
“At least we will become confident while performing our duties during political exercises,” teacher Salem Akmad of the Maguindanao schools division, said in a separate interview Wednesday.
“This is unprecedented, we have nothing like this in the past,” he added.
Under the MOA, the MBHTE will submit to Comelec a certified list of public school teachers who are qualified, willing, and available to render election-related service giving preference to those with permanent appointments and those who have served in previous automated elections pursuant to Section 5 of Comelec Resolution No. 10194.
The MOA also stated that preference should also be given to those who are without comorbidities and are below 60 years of age.
Iqbal said the MOA also stated that MBHTE shall bear the cost of capacity training to be conducted by the Comelec such as sensitivity training, polling place management, and basic health and safety protocols against the coronavirus disease 2019.
“Truly, when two organizations unite and support each other, better results can be achieved for the betterment of the public,” he said.
Iqbal said he wanted the best protection for teachers who will serve as members of both city and municipal electoral boards during the upcoming political exercise.
“With this partnership, we will be capacitating them (teachers) with the right knowledge to deter abuses and any form of security threats that may occur before, during, or after the 2022 elections,” he said.
Iqbal stressed that the BARMM would also ensure that resources of the government will not be used for purposes of electioneering and that teachers and non-teaching personnel of the MBHTE will remain non-partisan.
“As a government who postulates moral governance in the running of our day-to-day affairs, we envisioned a fair, orderly, and honest election,” he said. (PNA)