Alleviate teachers of election service tax, Senate urged

Published March 23, 2022, 9:46 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

With the increase in the tax imposition on teachers’ election service honoraria and allowances, a group on Wednesday, March 23, called on Senators anew to legislate a measure to tax-exempt the pay of teacher-poll workers.

Public school teachers undergo training for the May 2022 elections. (ALI VICOY/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Our teachers deserve to get in full their honoraria and allowances, which hardly sufficed to truly recognize and compensate for their honest and vital work every election day, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

Basilio said that now more than ever, the Senate should “act with urgency and heed our long-standing call: alleviate our teacher-poll workers from hefty and onerous taxes!”

ACT said that it already wrote to several Senators to press them to “urgently tackle and pass” a counterpart bill for House Bill 9652, principally authored by ACT Teachers Partylist, which had been approved on third and final reading in the Lower House since August 2021.

Currently, three similar bills have been filed in the Senate but have not been discussed in committee hearings.

ACT said that it has written several times in the past to Senators regarding their call and has also successfully pushed lawmakers to file counterpart measures.

The group has been protesting the sudden imposition of tax on the honoraria and allowances received by Board of Election Inspector (BEI) members, which only started in 2018.

The latest development, however, saw a four-time increase in tax imposition—from five percent, their election service pay is now subject to a 20 percent tax deduction.

For ACT, however, “small the increases in poll work pay, they are still a product of our teachers’ fight for better pay and should not be taken away from them by any means.”

The group also asked the Senate to swiftly and decisively settle their backlog on this matter and let election frontliners receive their hard-earned poll work pay.

“Rendering services during elections is already a daunting task as it is. Our teacher-poll workers volunteer to perform their patriotic duty every election, despite the risks on their lives and well-being,” Basilio said.

“The least our government can do is to sufficiently remunerate them for their services and let them fully enjoy the modest amounts they receive,” he added.