Teachers in autonomous region demand P5,000 in poll duty pay

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COTABATO CITY—Teachers, particularly those assigned to volatile and fraud-prone areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are demanding higher pay for election duty.

Speaking for the 800-strong Teachers Alliance for Change (TEACH), Abunawas Solaiman said the government must “look into the plight of our teachers by not only ensuring their security but by giving them just compensation for a delicate job.”

“The P3,000 election pay for each public school teacher is not enough to compensate for the threats and trauma” of teachers performing election tasks, said Solaiman, who heads TEACH. The teachers are demanding at least P5,000 in election duty pay.

Noor Saada, education assistant secretary in the ARMM, said she supports the teachers’ demand for higher election duty pay and insurance coverage.

Samira Gutoc-Tomawis, Regional Legislative Assembly member, said many teachers are exposed to intimidation and harassment by politicians with private armies.

Reports of election violence in the past showed that teachers assigned to conflict areas are “exposed to danger in their attempt to expose election anomalies,” said Tomawis.

Considered the backbone of the nation’s electoral process, “the teachers run and supervise voting centers and often form part of the board of election inspectors, only to bear the brunt of election violence and intimidation before, during and after the political exercise,” Tomawis added.

Solaiman said that if some teachers are not performing well in their election duties, it is because they are under threat and lacked ample government protection—economic and security-wise.

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