3 teachers awarded for heroism on election day
Manila (28 June) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conferred Presidential Citations on three (3) public school teachers for acting beyond the call of duty during the May 10 automated elections.
Aliah D. Macabangun of Daramba Primary School, Matungao-Poonapiagapo District, Lanao Del Norte; Jean Solis of Paloc National High School, Compostela Valley and Jennifer Sarsuelo of Paloc Elementary School, Compostela Valley were given presidential awards in ceremonies held in Malacanang Palace Monday morning.
"As members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), these teachers performed heroic acts beyond the call of duty. Amid threats to life and limb, they were resolute in their sworn duty to protect the sanctity of the ballot," said Education Secretary Mona D. Valisno.
She said that she was proud of all the teachers who served in the last election for their vigilance and for preserving the integrity of the teaching profession by being a role model among all civil servants by not engaging directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity except to vote.
"The entire DepEd family is proud that it played such an important role in ensuring the success of our country?s first automated elections. Having been given the enormous task to man the polls, our teachers did their duty with honesty and integrity," she added.
Valisno said that the three (3) teachers awarded by the President displayed selfless devotion to their duty as COMELEC deputies and strictly adhered to the Department?s Nine-point Guidelines for Clean Elections.
Asst. Secretary Jonathan Malaya, DepEd Spokesperson, said that Ms. Macabangon acted beyond the call of duty, when placing her own life at risk, she protected the PCOS machine against armed groups who suddenly arrived at her clustered precinct in Lanao del Norte.
Based on the report of the DepEd Division of Lanao del Norte, at 7:00 am on election day a group of armed men came to the voting center and fired shots prompting BEI chairman Aliah D. Macabangon to protect and secure the PCOS machine at all cost. With the help of her co-teachers, she moved the PCOS machine to another room and there she retrieved the memory card and hid it in her undergarment for safekeeping. Because of her timely intervention, the PCOS machine was not taken by the armed men. She stayed in her hiding place until responding Army personnel arrive to take control of the situation.
Malaya said that Ms. Solis and Ms. Sarsuelo also placed their lives on the line to ensure the delivery of the PCOS machines, ballot boxes, and election returns from their precinct to the canvassing center in Paloc, Compostela Valley.
Based on the report of the DepEd Division of Campostela Valley, Ms. Solis and Ms. Sarsuelo were aboard a municipal dump truck which was used to transport the PCOS machine, ballot boxes, and election returns accompanied by military personnel and CAFGU members together with some poll watchers.
When they reached Maragusan, Paloc, they were suddenly ambushed by an undetermined number of armed men who suddenly opened fire at their vehicle. Killed on the spot were two Army soldiers, two CAFGU members, and a poll watcher. Ms. Solis and Ms. Sarsuelo fortunately survived the incident.
Also among the DepEd officials awarded by the President were Asec. Malaya, Prof. Pilar Bautista of the Office of the Secretary, and Dir. Milagros Talinio for their work with the Presidential Task Force on Education. (PIA) [top]