Teachers’ group hits Comelec’s ‘deceptive’ 2022 polls hike claim

Published November 15, 2021, 7:13 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A group of education workers on Monday, Nov. 15, slammed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for its “deceptive” claim on the compensation hike of the electoral boards (EB) for the 2022 elections.

(DEPED / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a statement, expressed disappointment with Comelec for announcing earlier that the service pay of the members of the EB will be increased by P3,000 “when its guidelines show that EBs will get zero to P500 net increase.”

ACT explained that while the honorarium and travel allowances of the electoral board chairpersons and members will both be raised by P1,000 respectively, the Comelec has scrapped the P2,000 travel allowance for trainings received by the EBs in the past elections.

The group also questioned why electoral board chairpersons “were not included in the grant of anti-COVID allowance when they head the voting process in the precinct level and face equally high risks in performing election duties amid the pandemic.”

The electoral boards are the three-person body that facilitate the voting in each polling precinct nationwide, an overwhelming majority of whom are public school teachers.

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said that the Comelec is “deceiving” teachers using the “bigay-bawi” scheme.

“Malinaw na pang-aabuso ito sa poll workers na hindi bibigyan ng karampatang dagdag na kompensasyon sa kabila ng mas pinahabang oras ng botohan at mas matinding mga panganib na susuungin nila dahil sa pandemya (It is clear that it is an abuse of poll workers who will not be given the appropriate additional compensation despite the extended polling time and more risks because of the pandemic),” Basilio said.

(Image from ACT)

Basilio shared that ACT has submitted to Comelec its proposal to increase election service honorarium by P4,000 and the travel allowances to P3,000 for those serving in the city proper and P5,000 to those assigned in rural areas.

The group also also requested for the grant of P2,500 food allowance for poll workers.

“All demands are premised on the greater risks posed by holding the elections amid the pandemic, the spike in food and travel costs due to the economic crisis, and the total 7 to 10 days that poll workers spend for election duties—from the days of training up to the time that they submit election returns for canvassing,” ACT said.

The group has also been calling for the scrapping of five percent income tax deductions on election service compensation since its implementation in the 2018 barangay elections.

Meanwhile, ACT called on the Senate to increase the funding for election service compensation for the 2022 elections as the chamber deliberates on the 2022 budget.

The group demanded that Comelec grant poll workers with the maximum compensation that the budget can allow.

Basilio also challenged all electoral candidates to “speak up and take on the plight of poll workers who risk their life and limb to safeguard the people’s right to suffrage and the sanctity of the ballot.”

 
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