Teachers lambast veto of tax exemption for poll workers

The President’s veto on a bill exempting taxes to election duty honorarium surprised and dismayed teachers.


In a virtual presser on Sunday, July 31, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines called out President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., after he vetoed Senate Bill No. 2520 which aims to grant tax exemptions to the honoraria, allowances, and other benefits given to election workers.

“Isang napakalaking dismaya sa bahagi ng ko, sa bahagi ng mga kasamahan kong teachers na nag-serve sa election nang malaman na na-veto ng Pangulong BBM yung proposal for tax exemption sa mga nagse-serve sa election especially yung mga teachers (It was a huge disappointment on my part, on the part of my fellow teachers who served in the election, when we learned that President BBM vetoed the proposal for tax exemption for those serving in the election, especially the teachers,” said Grace Abellar of ACT Negros.

“Sa aking karanasan, hindi basta-basta ang pasisilbi sa eleksyon (In my experience, it is not easy to serve in the election),” Abellar, who served as part of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) in the recent elections, said.

Rizza Bantilan of ACT, also expressed dismay on Marcos’ recent move. “Nakakalungkot, nakakadismaya at nakaka-demoralize lalo sa part ng mga guro (It is sad, disappointing, and demoralizing especially on the part of the teachers),” she said.

Bantilan also noted that vetoing the said bill showed utter disregard for the contribution of teachers during the election. “Yung halaga ng teachers during elections, parang nabale-wala lahat dahil dito sa pag-veto dito ng Pangulo (The value of teachers during elections seems to have been ignored because of the President's veto),” she added.

For teachers, Bantilan noted that receiving the full amount of their allowances at honorarium is very important. “Hindi biro ang pag-upo ng mga teachers sa panahon ng eleksyon, 50-50, nakataya ang buhay ng mga teachers (Sitting in the elections is not a joke, it’s like 50-50 because the lives of teachers are at stake),” she stressed.

Roel Mape, who started serving in the elections in 2003, was also disheartened to hear that Marcos vetoed the bill that would have allowed exempting election service pay from taxation.

“Napalaki ng 20 percent, sa kabila ng mga paghihirap mga guro dapat tanggalin ang yung tax na iyan (The 20 percent is a big deal, despite the difficulties teachers face, that tax should be removed),” he said. Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro also lambasted Marcos’s move.

“The veto of this measure is a slap in the face of every teacher across the country who served the past elections dutifully despite long hours and higher risks of getting Covid-19,” Castro said.

With the additional risks and longer hours of poll service that they had to endure, removing the 20 percent tax on their honoraria and allowances is only just, Castro stressed.

Castro noted that they are also studying all options to counter the “highly unjust move” of the President. “We urge all teachers and election service volunteers to reach out to their district representatives and senators so that both Houses of Congress can override this unfair veto,” she added.