By Merlina Hernando Malipot
In the aftermath of the 2019 midterm elections, the Department of Education (DepEd) has received over 900 reports on damages to school facilities which were used as poll centers nationwide.
DepEd Undersecretary for Administration and Election Task Force (ETF) Monitoring Chairperson Alain Del Pascua, in a recent briefing on the conduct of the 2019 midterm polls, said that a total of 949 reports have been received by the task force on damages to school facilities.
Pascua said that the ETF Central Command Center – which was set up at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan in DepEd Central Office in Pasig City from May 12 to May 14 – received 131, 526 reports as of 3:00 on Tuesday. Of this number, he noted that 131, 222 reports were submitted via the DepEd Election Monitoring App which was used by the department as a monitoring tool for the first time.
The total number of data items sent to the DepEd via the monitoring app had a total 612, 313. Datasets, Pascua explained, are the “answers to the questions” that the field users gave to DepEd. “This is how big the data that we got for a one-day operation,” he said. There were a total 33, 807 users who sent at least four reports each.
Reported damages in schools
In the consolidated report, Pascua confirmed that the teachers –who served as the Electoral Board as well as other personnel who performed tasks related to the election – reported hundreds of incidents on damages of school facilities which covered about seven (7) percent of those who reported.
Meanwhile, Pascua noted that the DepEd has yet to ascertain the nature and degree of the damages to facilities in schools. “One of the things that our IT [Information Technology] division will verify is if the damages that have been reported – because these are just incidents of damage – we have not been able to put the degree of damages, how big or how small they are,” he explained.
However, Pascua said that the DepEd was assured that no burning of schools or any of its facilities was reported. “We were assured that there were no burnings, walang nasira or walang nasunog na mga facilities, and the damages that were reported, we cannot still ascertain how major are the damages or minor they are – that’s why we will be needing validations for that,” he added.
In the following days, Pascua said that DepEd will have a “clearer picture” on the damages. “Kasi pwedeng nasira lang yung upuan or nasira yung isang window – or something like that,” he explained. “This, we have to qualify para mas accurate yung reports [because] these are just number of incidences that they have reported to us,” he said.
Pascua said that the DepEd will verify and validate the information gathered by ETF by region and by division. “We will verify that because the figures might have been tripled so our IT officers in the regions and divisions will look into that,” he explained.
DepEd data showed that a total of 36, 830 schools were used as poll centers during the 2019 midterm elections.