Cops replace 200 teachers as members of BEI in five Lanao Sur towns

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 08 May) — Fearing for their lives, 200 teachers from five municipalities in Lanao del Sur are boycotting their poll duty on Monday prompting the Commission on Elections to deploy policemen to replace them.

Senior Insp. Barlowe Espiga, said they are fielding 200 policemen to replace the teachers who will not be reporting tomorrow as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) in the municipalities of Butig, Maguing, Sultan Dumalondong and Bacolod-Kalawe in Lanao del Sur.

FINAL TESTING. A technician from Smartmatic checks the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) together with policemen and poll watchers at the Lanao del Sur provincial gym in Marawi City, on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Some 200 policemen will take up poll duties to replace teachers who expressed fear of violence during the election on Monday. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
FINAL TESTING. A technician from Smartmatic checks the Vote Counting Machine (VCM) together with policemen and poll watchers at the Lanao del Sur provincial gym in Marawi City, on Sunday, May 8, 2016. Some 200 policemen will take up poll duties to replace teachers who expressed fear of violence during the election on Monday. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Espiga said the policemen who will be deployed are from Tawi-tawi,  Sulu  and other provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The five-province ARMM – Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi – is also electing its regional governor, vice governor and members of the Regional Legislative Assembly.

“We can understand the fears of the teachers so our men will take over the slack, “Estiga said.

Estiga said the policemen had hooked up with Smartmatic technicians to test the machines at the Provincial Capitol Gym in Marawi City on Sunday.

While the policemen were testing the machines, political supporters figured in a fistfight inside the gym until they were set apart by the police.

Tugaya town election officer Subair Randang said he expects the political tension to rise when the election starts Monday.

Bandang said he asked for 75 policemen to act as members of the Special Board of Election Inspectors to replace the teachers in Tugaya town who will not be reporting for duty.

ARMM has 1.69 million voters, 484,435 of them in Lanao del Sur.

The province has 39 towns and one city.  (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)