An initial list of 1,036 electoral board (EB) members who reportedly rendered more than 24 hours of election service has been submitted by a group to the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“We have called for the granting of overtime pay to poll workers since our very first letter to Comelec regarding this year’s elections, which we sent them almost exactly a year ago today,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio in a statement issued Monday, May 16.
ACT also submitted to the Comelec initial list of election workers “eligible” for P3,000 additional compensation.
In a letter addressed to Comelec also dated May 16, ACT Philippines wrote to the Comelec to call for an across-the-board granting of P3,000 additional compensation for poll work duty that extended beyond 24 hours on election day on May 9.
“We very much welcome their positive response to our demand after some fuss at the beginning,” Basilio said.
“This is a great feat borne out of teacher-poll workers’ unrelenting fight for fair pay not only this election, but which started in the 2019 mid-term polls where scores of teachers had to continue rendering election service for up to two days after election day,” he added.
Earlier, Comelec said it has “no authority” to grant such supposedly because teachers are not employees of the commission.
ACT therefore recognized this recent pronouncement as a major development, especially after several reports confirmed that teachers indeed rendered extended poll work hours on election day.
Out of the 1,104 poll workers ACT initially asked on extended duties last May 9, 877 or 79.4 percent cited problems related to their VCMs and their SD cards, as well as that of other precincts within their clusters—all of which resulted in the extension of their work hours.
“Our EBs have always borne the brunt of several machine malfunctions and other irregularities with the conduct of elections,” Basilio said. “Being at the frontlines of every election is never easy, but our teachers continue to voluntarily offer their services to facilitate the proper conduct of polls,” he added.
Basilio noted that while there are so many factors that make or break the integrity of the elections — most of which are beyond the control of EBs and have occurred way before election day. “Nevertheless, teacher-poll workers deserve to be properly compensated for all their hard work,” he added.
ACT vowed that it will remain vigilant for the granting of their hard-won remuneration for poll workers.
It intends to continue pushing for the immediate scrapping of the hefty 20 percent tax on election service compensation, as well as the refund for the 5 percent tax imposition on the same in previous elections.
They are also calling on Comelec to ensure the health and legal support for electoral board members who require such.
“We honor our teachers, our election frontliners, by fighting alongside them for the government to ensure their welfare and rights—as we always have,” Basilio said.
Meanwhile, ACT demanded accountability from the government “for the many problems that unjustly fell on the shoulders of teachers and have resulted in various problems that taint the integrity of the 2022 national and local elections.”