MANILA, Philippines — Public school teachers who suffered accidents while on duty for the 2023 Baranggay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections can claim benefits from their medical and accident insurance, according to the Department of Education.
DepEd Spokesperson Michael Poa said in a press conference Monday that medical expenses related to election-related accidents can be reimbursed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“If it’s not election-related, or if it’s election-related but would still require additional assistance, we have GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) personal accident insurance that we bought for our teachers,” Poa said.
Comelec earlier said it has allocated P500,000 worth of death benefits and P200,000 cash assistance in cases of accidents, injuries for each teacher serving in the 2023 BSKE.
The DepEd spokesperson said that the department has recorded five accidents involving teachers while on poll duty on Monday.
A teacher from Legazpi City, Albay died in a motorcycle accident on her way to the polling precinct, while a teacher in Pangasinan was bitten by a snake on his way to deliver election paraphernalia, Poa said.
One teacher in Davao City also suffered injuries in a vehicular accident, Poa added.
In a statement, DepEd also reminded teachers that they can file a claim under their GSIS-issued Personal Accident Insurance (GPAI) policy within 60 days since the date of the accident.
Under the policy, DepEd personnel can claim for accidental death or dismemberment of up to P100,000, while those suffering accident-related injuries can file for medical reimbursement of up to P30,000.
DepEd announced the procurement of accident insurance coverage of up to P100,000 for all its personnel on October 5 or on the celebration of World Teacher’s Day.
Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has monitored several locations in which teacher-poll workers have experienced disruptions or remained on duty beyond their working hours.
In a press conference on Tuesday, ACT Vladimer Quetua said that the group’s BSKE hotline received reports of teachers having problems with transporting election paraphernalia and ballot boxes inside and outside Metro Manila.
Quetua also expressed concern over reports of teachers backing out of their poll duties, some of whom did so out of fear for their own safety.
More than 2,500 teachers who originally volunteered to man the BSKE backed out on Monday, according to the Comelec, the bulk of whom hail from the Bangsamoro region. Members of the Philippine National Police served as substitute poll workers.
Quetua said that ACT also received reports of shootouts in the Bangsamoro region taking place before poll precincts opened, which caused teachers to be affected “psychologically.”
He said that elections for village leaders pose a particular threat to teachers due to the possibility that they might be caught in the crossfire of warring families.
Similarly, teachers’ group Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) said that losing candidates in the 2023 BSKE should not take it out on teachers who served on electoral boards.
“There have always been problems like this in previous elections, when a candidate loses, teachers are blamed. They should think that if they lose, maybe their campaign is not enough or maybe their barangays don’t really like them,” TDC Chairperson Benjo Basas said in a statement.