Poll watchers in 2022 elections will get 'paltry' P2,000 honorarium

Published September 10, 2021, 1:39 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will give a P2,000 honorarium to teachers and volunteers in the upcoming 2022 local and national elections.

Appearing before the House of Representatives appropriations committee, Comelec Chairman Sherif Abas said the poll body could have given more but its proposed 2022 budget of P46.5 billion was cut by P15 billion.

He, nevertheless, said the Comelec is all set for the 2022 elections.

Abas said Comelec had a series of meetings with the Department of Education (DepEd) on increasing the honoraria and endorsed DepEd’s letter to the Department of Budget. ‘’Unfortunately, not all was given,’’ he added.

Nevertheless, the Comelec will give more to the teachers and volunteers the extra hours they would be working, Abas said.

‘’We will compute accordingly,’’ he added.

The voting hours is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the last elections, the voting hours was from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Castro said the poll workers’ work is not only confined to the 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. time frame but ‘’a whole day’s work.’

She said teachers wake up at 3 a.m. to 4 a.m. and go to city or municipal hall to get the election paraphernalia.

After the counting, teachers go to back to the city or municipal hall to deposit the election materials.

A realist, Abas said the poll body would have to live with what the DBM has given them.

He, nevertheless, expressed hopes that Congress would help them by prevailing upon DBM to agree to Comelec’s budget proposal.

Partylist Representative France Castro said the P2,000 honorarium is ‘’small.’’

She said the union of teachers proposed a P10.000 honorarium to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) chairman; P8,000 to board members; P7,000 to support personnel, P3,500 for travel allowance and P2,500 for meal allowance.

Abas also said that there was a failed bidding for the acquisition of 10,000 automated counting machines to be added to the poll body’s stock of 97,000 counting machines.

With the 97,000 voting machines, about 1,000 voters per precinct would be covered.

But with the 10,000 more machines, there would lesser voters per precinct, counted at 800 voters per precinct.

Comelec also assured that the country’s 1.495 million Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) would not be disenfranchised.