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LESSONS OF MIDTERM POLLS

ACT asks Congress to amend Election Service Reform Act

MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Monday called on Congress to amend the landmark Election Service Reform Act (Esra) to resolve issues that hounded teachers during last week’s polls, which the group said was the worst since automated elections began in 2010.

ACT secretary general Raymond Basilio said provisions that would scrap the tax on their honorariums, extend service credits, and ensure medical funds were accessible on Election Day should be enshrined in the law, which governs the service of teachers on electoral boards.

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Passed in 2016, the Esra made poll service voluntary and increased the compensation teachers receive for election duty. But Basilio said in an interview that it needed to go further.

ACT’s first proposed amendment, which would declare the honorarium tax-free, was not an issue during the crafting of the Esra because the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) only decided last year to begin imposing the 5-percent charge.

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“This is to recognize the sacrifice of our teachers during elections,” Basilio said.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones has declined to throw the agency’s support behind ACT, which filed a petition with the BIR asking it to scrap the tax.

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TAGS: ACT, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, election law, Election Service Reform Act, Raymond Basilio
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