By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
An opposition lawmaker wants to upgrade the salaries of employees of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
MAGDALO partylist Rep. Gary Alejano said with their vital role in ensuring that the election of the country's leaders are conducted with integrity and transparency, some 6,000 Comelec employees should be well-compensated for their efforts.
He noted that of the total number of Comelec employees, 5,000 are from rank-and-file classification receiving mid to low-level income.
"If we are to compare the existing salaries of Comelec employees to that of their counterparts in other constitutional bodies and government agencies, many of whom are of similar qualifications as them, a sizeable difference is readily apparent," Alejano said.
To prove his point, he said Comelec lawyers-- Attorney II, Election officers for cities and provincial election supervisors-- are in Salary Grade 18, 21, or 24, receiving P33, 452, P43,439, and P56,610 per month, respectively.
Meanwhile, the Public Attorney's Office provides to its public attorneys I to IV a salary grade of Salary Grade 25 to 29, which are P53, 730 to P73,099, respectively, he said.
Clerks in Regional Trial Courts are at Salary Grade 24 to Salary Grade 26, effectively giving them P56,610 to P67,690 a month, Alejano said.
He also noted that provincial election supervisors are at Salary Grade 24, which pegs at P56,610, while the Department of Education's Division Superintendent receives P67,690 at Salary Grade 26.
"Clearly enough, there is discrepancy between the rates of pay between Comelec employees and those of other constitutional bodies and government agencies, although they are virtually exerting equal effort," Alejano laments.
"Congress must therefore exert their honest efforts to provide to our hardworking Comelec employees the just compensation that they are entitled to. Provide for the greater well-being of these employees and it shall be rightful for us to expect them to act in good faith," he said.