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Long queues, delays in canvassing force teachers to work overtime during BSKE 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Delays in the retrieval of poll paraphernalia and lack of transportation forced several teachers to work overtime on the day of the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, with some kept waiting in their precincts hours after midnight, teacher groups said on Tuesday.

In a press conference, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said its hotlines for the BSKE were “barraged” with complaints from teachers who were kept waiting for hours at their respective polling places and canvassing sites due to various delays.

From the eve of election day until Tuesday, “teachers stayed up for more than 24 hours” due to delays in the provision of transportation, extensive paperwork, long queues while returning election paraphernalia and “commotions disallowing the poll workers to leave the polling place without declaring the winners,” ACT Chairperson Vladimer Quetua said.

Based on the incident reports publicized by ACT, there are at least 10 different areas or schools where teacher-poll workers experienced delays in the return of election paraphernalia and transport of ballot boxes to canvassing sites.

While the Commission on Elections has yet to comment on the delays experienced by poll workers in canvassing sites, complaints publicized by ACT indicate that instructions for teachers returning election paraphernalia were unclear, while one local Comelec office was unreachable.

Another organization of teachers, the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC), reported the same findings in its statement assessing the conduct of the BSKE.

TDC said that while teachers experienced heightened security during this year’s election for village leaders — which has traditionally been marred by violence from rival political clans — they were still subjected to “hardship, fatigue and sleeplessness” while manning the polls.

Based on the group’s monitoring on election day, teachers experienced delays in returning documents and election paraphernalia to Comelec offices, TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas said.

“In Taguig, for example, teachers flocked to return these materials until the early hours of the morning, and some are even being asked to return this afternoon,” Basas