File photo of North Cotabato policemen training on poll duties for May 9 national and local polls. (Photo courtesy of North Cotabato PPO)

COTABATO CITY – After having been trained to administer the election process, police officers will serve as the electoral board of a village in Pikit, North Cotabato after teachers earlier assigned as board of election tellers backed out.

“They refused to serve because they have relatives who are locked in a clan war,” Lt. Colonel Bernard Tayong, North Cotabato deputy police director, said in an interview Thursday.

Tayong was referring to the six teachers assigned to serve at two clustered precincts in Barangay Talitay but opted to stay away for fear they might run into an armed conflict.

In a separate interview, Pikit municipal election officer Tarhata Engid said some teachers are wary of serving as election officers after having experienced violent situations involving warring candidates.

Meanwhile, Tayong assured the six police officers are “very qualified” to administer the electoral process since they were trained along with about 100 other cops across the province for the particular duty.

Barangay Talitay in Pikit is part of the 63 villages in North Cotabato that are now part of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).  It has a total of 1,131 registered voters. (PNA)