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Gatchalian: Ensure maximum protection for teachers serving in the polls

Re-electionist Senator Win Gatchalian is urging the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure maximum protection for teachers serving as poll workers, especially in areas being considered as hotspots or areas of concern.


CAUAYAN, ISABELA, Philippines – A Grade 2 teacher at Mabantad South Elementary School cleans up her classroom after a massive flood swept through the province, 23 Nov. 2020 file. Photo by Mark Cayabyab/OS WIN GATCHALIAN

Gatchalian is also urging the Department of Education’s (DepEd) Election Task Force to work with the PNP to ensure efficient provision of security measures for teachers who will serve in the polls.

Over 300,000 teachers are expected to participate in this year’s polls. The DILG and the PNP previously reported that 105 municipalities and 15 cities are labeled as “red areas” or areas of grave concern, which may be placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The poll body is verifying the list submitted by the PNP and is yet to release the final list of areas of concern.

“Ang mga guro ay ang ating frontliners sa pagpapanatili ng kaayusan ng ating halalan. Dapat nating tiyakin na mabibigyan sila ng karampatang proteksyon mula sa anumang banta ng kaguluhan o karahasan sa araw ng halalan, lalo na’t buhay at kaligtasan nila ang nakataya alang-alang sa kinabukasan ng bansa,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

There are four categories of election hotspots: green, yellow, orange, and red. Green areas have no security concerns and are considered relatively peaceful and orderly.

A yellow category may be assigned to areas where any of the following factors exist: suspected election-related incident in the last two elections, intense political rivalry, possible employment of partisan armed groups by candidates in the area, occurrence of politically-motivated election-related incidents in the current election period, and an area’s previous placement under COMELEC control. Threats of domestic terror groups are not present in yellow areas.

In orange areas, a combination of two or more factors under the yellow category are present. These areas may also face serious armed threats from groups like the New People’s Army (NPA), extremist groups Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and rogue elements of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), and other analogous groups.

Red areas have the existence of one or more factors described in the yellow category while facing serious armed threats from the groups identified in the orange category.