Comelec to spend ‘more or less P20 million’ for poll workers’ additional honoraria

Published May 25, 2022, 4:25 PM

by Martin Sadongdong

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will likely spend P20 million for the additional honoraria of members of the electoral boards (EBs) who rendered extended hours of duty on the day of the elections last May 9.

Comelec Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia (JEL SANTOS/MANILA BULLETIN)

Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said the poll body decided to approve an additional P2,000 honoraria for poll workers who had to serve for a longer period of time due to the vote counting machines (VCMs) and secure digital (SD) cards that malfunctioned.

The Comelec found out that there were 2,038 polling precincts affected either by the malfunctioning VCMs or SD cards. He said the Comelec will check whether there were some precincts which encountered both problems.

“Pwede kasing may nadoble doon pero isa lang ibabayad. Hindi pwedeng nagkaproblema ang SD, nagkaproblema ang machine eh times two (It’s possible that some of them encountered both problems but we will only pay them once. We couldn’t double the payment even if the SD and machines both encountered problems),” he said in a press briefing.

“But in case its 2,038 precincts, you multiply it by P2,000 and the number of personnel for electoral boards (EB)s, say seven or eight. If I’m not mistaken, my computation is more or less P20 million,” he added.

The Comelec is looking to start the distribution of the additional honoraria on Friday, May 27.

Meanwhile, Garcia apologized to the Department of Education (DepEd) if the Comelec could not grant their original request to increase the additional honoraria of poll workers to P3,000.

He said the budget for the additional payment were the money allocated for the overtime pay of the poll workers.

“We are really sorry to the teachers, the support staff, and technicians where the machines and SD cards malfunctioned. We can only afford to give you P2,000 because we do not have an additional budget for this,” the commissioner said.

“The budget for this is actually sourced from the overtime pay. I will repeat that we cannot give overtime [pay] to the teachers and electoral boards because they are not members of the Comelec. Even if we want to, it’s against the auditing rules and circulars of the DBM [Department of Budget and Management],” he added.