MOA between Comelec, PAO, DepEd to give legal aid to teachers on election duty

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 18) — The Commission on Elections, Department of Education, and Public Attorney's Office on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) that would provide legal assistance to teachers who will serve during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections in October.

"Kailangan they (teachers) are properly represented by counsel. Napaka-importante yun. Ang dami nang ginagawa ng mga guro...kung may tutulong sa kanila katulad ng Public Attorney's Office, na talagang libreng naglilingkod, lalo na't may MOA mas magiging madali na idefend yung kanilang sarili," Comelec chairman George Garcia said in a briefing.

[Translation: They should be properly represented by counsel. That is very important. Teachers do so many things...if they receive help from the Public Attorney's Office, who really provides free help, especially now that there is a MOA, they will be able to defend themselves easily.]

Over 8,000 teachers will serve in electoral boards in the upcoming polls. Garcia said there have been times when teachers received threats during election duty.

"Teachers are so vulnerable that's why the legal assistance is the best defense against these kinds of attacks against them," he said.

DepEd Undersecretary Michael Poa said discussions on teachers' welfare should also include the issue of legal aid.