By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senate President Vicente Sotto III is pushing for a measure that seeks to raise the wages of Commission on Elections (Comelec) employees and reorganize the poll body’s offices to improve services.
Sotto, in Senate Bill 2082 or the proposed “Act Reorganizing the Comelec Offices,” said he seeks to address the “notable disparity” between the salaries of Comelec employees and those in other government agencies despite having similar qualifications or equivalent positions.
“It is about time that Congress responds to their call for adequate adjustments in their remuneration,” the Senate leader said in his bill, filed last October 23.
He noted that the Comelec Employees’ Union has been asserting their right to substantial and just salary increases and that the principle of equal pay for equal work was supposedly not been felt by them.
“Equal pay for equal work in government service is the ultimate goal of the proposed legislation…Furthermore, it is posited that an increase in their salary will be an effective deterrent to graft and corrupt practices,” Sotto said.
Under the measure, Comelec rank-and-file plantilla positions, both in the main and field offices, would be “reclassified and upgraded accordingly.”
Sotto’s bill is seen to benefit the constitutional body’s 5,000 employees nationwide.
SB 2082 also seeks to institute Comelec regional and provincial offices and divide the National Capital Region (NCR) into five administrative districts.
“The Comelec may delegate its powers and functions or order the implementation or enforcement of its orders, rulings or decisions through the heads of its field offices,” the Senate chief said.
A counterpart measure has also been introduced in the House of Representatives by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Reps. Gary Alejano, Francisco Datol, and Feliciano Belmonte Jr.