By Vanne Terrazola
Sen. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has called on the government to ensure that teachers who are volunteering for tomorrow’s barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) elections will receive their incentives on time.
Angara, chair of the Senate committee on ways and means, to day reminded that the honoraria and allowances of teacher-volunteers with annual basic salary of P250,000 and below should be tax-free.
“Teachers, with annual basic salary of P250,000 and below, who will be rendering services during tomorrow’s barangay and SK elections should get their tax refund at the soonest possible time. Maliit na bagay lang ito kumpara sa sakripisyo at panganib na kakaharapin ng ating mga guro para lamang mabantayan ang ating mga boto (This is a nothing compared to the sacrifices and possible dangers that our teachers will face just to protect our votes),” Angara said.
Angara, citing incidents of harassments, threats, and killings, also praised teachers-volunteers who have committed their time and energy to serve in the elections.
“Hindi biro ang maging teacher-volunteers sa panahon ng eleksyon…Kaya saludo po tayo sa ating mga magigiting na guro (Being a teacher-volunteer during elections is not easy. That is why I salute our brave teachers),” Angara said.
Under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law, Teachers I and II with Salary Grade 11, or with a monthly base pay of P20,179, are exempted from income tax.
With the 5-percent withholding tax on honoraria, Angara said teachers who will serve in the electoral board should get a tax refund of P350, while those who will serve as members of the electoral board should get a tax refund of P300.
He noted, however, that teachers, to be able to get a refund, are required by the Bureau of Internal Revenue to submit to the election officers a sworn declaration stating that they are employed as teacher with Salary Grade 11.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones earlier said teachers would be able to receive the refund within 15 days from May 14 upon submission of the required affidavit.
The Election Service Reform Act of 2016 states that teacher-volunteers shall receive honoraria amounting to the following: P6,000 for chairperson of the Electoral Board; P5,000 for members of Electoral Board; P4,000 for DepEd supervisor officials; P2,000 for support staff; and an additional P1,000 travel allowance.
Other benefits are legal indemnification package worth P50,000; medical assistance of up to P200,000; and election-related death benefit amounting to P500,000.