By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms has approved bills seeking to upgrade the salaries of employees of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the main and field offices.
Citizens Battle against Corruption (CIBAC) partylist Representative Sherwin Tugna said they approved House Bills 8111 and 8258 to respond to Comelec employees’ call for decent salaries.
HB 8111 was authored by Senior Citizen partylist Rep. Francisco Datol Jr., Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and former Speaker and Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr., while HB 8258 was filed by Datol, Belmonte, and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Datol said the measures will directly address long-standing pay issues of the Comelec rank and file personnel.
He laments that the disparity in wages is most felt at the Comelec field offices.
“For decades, the principle of “equal pay for equal work and responsibility” has not been felt by employees of this constitutional body,” Datol said.
“With more than 5,000 employees nationwide, the Comelec is dominated by rank and file workers who receive mid- to low-level income. Comelec employees are working with a stark difference in salary grades compared to fellow employees with similar qualifications and positions in other government agencies and constitutional commissions,” he said.
Under the approved bills, city and municipal election officers, along with Election Officer I shall receive a monthly salary of P73, 299 from the current P22, 149 per month. They get promoted to Salary Grade 24 from Salary Grade 12.
The bills provide that there shall be a minimum of two Assistant Election Specialists with Salary Grade 21 in every city or municipality.
The provincial election director shall have the rank of Director II with Salary Grade 24, according to the bills.
The measures also provide that the National Capital Region shall be divided into at least five administrative districts, headed by a district director with Director II rank and with Salary Grade 24.
The bills authorize the Comelec to reclassify and upgrade accordingly all the remaining rank and file plantilla positions in the poll body’s main and field offices.
A counterpart measure was filed at the Senate by Senator Leila de Lima, but is pending at the committee level.