Election monitoring app proven useful: DepEd exec

MANILA -- An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday said the use of the DepEd election monitoring mobile application enabled teachers to coordinate election-related concerns with the DepEd central office in a quick and timely manner.

"As of 3 p.m. today, the total number of data items we have received via the app has amounted to 612,313 and they are from 33,807 app users who were members of the electoral boards, DepEd Supervising Officials and Public Schools District Supervisors," said DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua in a press briefing.

Pascua said the high number of reports showed that teachers with poll duties have become more engaged in reporting their concerns because of the app.

"We didn't expect that the app could receive more than 500,000 data sets, we thought we'll just receive around 150,000. This shows that we have provided them (the teachers) an easy way to communicate with us," he added.

Under the teacher-related reports, Pascua said the DepEd central office has already received 1,070 reports about failure of full payment of honoraria, 632 reports of unpaid allowances, 751 reports of injuries and harassments, and 86 complaints.

Pascua said they have also received 949 reports of damages to school facilities but they have not checked the degree of such damages, but were assured that no burning of facilities or incidents of fire happened.

"There are still reports coming in and we're allowing so until before Friday. We're not forcing our teachers to file their reports immediately as they are now resting after serving the polls whole day but we're requesting them to submit their reports before Friday," he said.

To ensure non-duplication of reports, Pascua said they will be verifying the data from the ground through the division and regional supervisors.

"It is possible that two or more teachers are reporting one incident and that's what we're looking at right now. We'll verify the data collected and then we'll be sending formal endorsement to Comelec for all those Comelec-related problems and we will act on those teacher-related problems," he added.

Stressing that the app still has limited features, Pascua said they would be working on the qualification of each incident report to establish its accuracy.

"For example, we received a report that this number of teachers haven't received their honoraria, that report is accurate only at that given time, because after a few hours, they might have received their honoraria already. We're looking for a way on how the system will automatically correct the entries by adding another parameter so that by the end of the hour or the day we can have a more accurate data," he added.

In the same press briefing, Pascua said 157 reports were submitted via SMS, 81 through cellphone calls, 22 via telephone calls and 44 more via email. “Most of these reports are about vote counting machines which are not working properly, or broken, which have not been delivered," he added.

While improvements in its features have to be made, Pascua said the use of the election monitoring app has been successful in providing accessible and real-time election-related reports.

"We will have an assessment so we can improve it because we have proven that we found a powerful tool for our teachers' protection and make their work easier and we will definitely use the app in the succeeding elections and other activities and projects of the department," he said. (PNA)