Protection for Maguindanao teachers in brgy polls mulled PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 11 October 2013 13:01

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu is confident the inter-agency provincial peace and order council (PPOC), the police and the military can effectively protect jointly all public school teachers who will serve in remote areas during the October 28 barangay elections.

Mangudadatu said the PPOC has been initiating backchannel efforts to ensure the safety of teachers during the actual polling day.

“We are not taking chances. We don’t want any of  our teachers in all parts of Maguindanao to experience any security problem,” Mangudadatu told Daily Zamboanga Times via text message Thursday.

Udtog Tago, the provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao, had earlier reported to the central office of the Commission on Elections that some 700 teachers in the province are reluctant to serve during the barangay polls due to security reasons.

Tago said some of the complaining teachers had cited experiences of harassments and coercion by certain political camps during the May 13 polls as reasons for their desire to be relieved of poll duties on October 28.

Some teachers have also raised the issue of propriety in serving on October 28 in areas where candidates for barangay positions are related to them either by blood, or by affinity.

Tago is confident, however, that the Comelec, the police, the military, and the PPOC can jointly address security issues.

Tago said the teachers who had asked to be relieved of election duties are based in the towns of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Salipada K. Pendatun, Shariff Aguak, Saidona Mustapha, Datu Piang and Datu Abdullah Sangki, all in the second district of the province.

Tago said one way of ensuring they can administer safe and credible barangay elections in the six towns is to beef up security by deploying more policemen and soldiers.

Tago said the office of Mangudadatu has been helping since last week address all peace and security issues that could possibly affect the October 28 barangay electoral exercise in some parts of the province.

Mangudadatu on Thursday appealed to local peace advocates and religious leaders to help the Comelec disseminate the nationwide gun ban being imposed by the poll body to ensure safe and credible barangay elections.

Tago said the office of Mangudadatu has been helping since last week address all peace and security issues that could possibly affect the October 28 barangay electoral exercise in some parts of the province.