GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 14 Oct) – A total of 6,405 teachers here and nearby South Cotabato province will be serving as board of election tellers (BETs) in the Oct. 28 barangay elections in the area, a poll official said.
Lawyer Jay Gerada, Comelec-South Cotabato provincial supervisor, said they are presently working on the assignments of the area’s pool of BETs based on the new clustering of polling precincts that they implemented for the upcoming polls.
Comelec records showed that a total of 698,775 residents in 225 barangays in this city and South Cotabato are eligible to cast their votes in the barangay elections.
South Cotabato has a total of 199 barangays while this city, which is under the jurisdiction of the Comelec provincial office, has 26 barangays.
The area, which has a total of 5,024 established precincts, will have 2,135 clustered precincts for the barangay polls.
“We will be assigning three BETs for each clustered precinct,” Gerada said in a media forum in Koronadal City.
The official said they will finalize the assignment of the BETs after the closing of the filing of certificate of candidacies of barangay bets on Oct. 17.
He said they will check first the qualification of the BETs, specifically whether they have relatives running in the polls, before finalizing their assignments.
Prior to their deployment on Oct. 28, Gerada said the BETs will undergo special orientation and training from Oct. 20 to 25 regarding the voting process, which will be conducted manually.
“I think most of our BETs are already familiar with the manual voting scheme as it was also used in the 2010 barangay elections,” he said.
Aside from the barangay polls, all elections conducted by the Comelec since 2010 were already automated or in the computerized mode.
Gerada said not one among the area’s pool of BETs have so far signified to back out from serving in the barangay elections.
“Our area is generally peaceful as of this time so there’s no reason really for our BETs to back out. I think they’re all willing to serve their election duties but we just need to prepare them properly,” he said.
As set by the Comelec central office, Gerada added that each BET will receive an allowance of P2,500, of which P500 will be provided through the mandatory augmentation funds of P10,000 from the barangays.