By Hannah Torregoza
Sen. Leila de Lima is supporting the call of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Employees Union (Comelec-EU) for the passage of a Senate bill that seeks the reorganization of the office and provides better pay and benefits to its workers.
De Lima is referring to Senate Bill No. 2082 or “An Act Reorganizing the Comelec Offices” which shall reorganize the said office and provide its employees with compensation proportional to the challenges and tasks they handle in ensuring honest, orderly and peaceful elections.
“Elections play a critical role in democracies. It is the most basic form of participatory governance and a key element in our people’s civil and political rights,” de Lima said in a statement.
“But how do we protect the sanctity of the ballot when those tasked to protect our votes are demoralized because they are underpaid compared to their counterparts in other government agencies and Constitutional Commissions,” she pointed out.
“Thus, I support the COMELEC Employees Union (COMELEC-EU) in their call for the passage of Senate Bill No. 2082,” she said.
As a former election lawyer and a daughter of a former Comelec Commissioner, De Lima said she “understands the tedious tasks of conducting elections nationwide.
“Electoral reforms should not be limited to how we regulate and level the playing field among candidates but should also include strengthening the institutions and the people behind them that enable us to exercise our right to vote,” she said.
De Lima said this is the reason why she also filed Senate Bill No. 2025 in September; the bill seeks to strengthen the Comelec by increasing its personnel and allowing the creation of field offices at the regional, provincial and municipal levels.
She said the bill she filed also pegged the election assistants to voters’ ratio at one for every twenty thousand (20,000).
“So, it is my hope that the passage of SB No. 2082 will revitalize our electoral workforce and further motivate them fulfill their vital mandate of ensuring clean and truthful elections in the country,” she said.
“Huwag po nating kakalimutan na ang mga tauhan ng COMELEC ay mga manggagawa ring may taglay na mga karapatan. Unang-una na rito ang karapatan sa sapat at makatarungang pasahod (Let us not forget that Comelec employees are also workers who have specific rights. Foremost is their right to adequate and just compensation),” the detained senator stressed.
“Umaasa ako na itong SB 2082 ay maisasabatas na sa lalong madaling panahon (With this, I am hoping for the passage of SB No. 2082 at the soonest time possible),” de Lima said.