Teachers to get poll duty pay in cash
MANILA, Philippines — With only days to go before Election Day, the Commission on Election (Comelec) announced that the honoraria and allowances of teachers who will serve as election workers on May 9 would be distributed in cash instead of the usual bank cards.
Teachers’ groups lauded the decision as education officials briefed senators in a hearing on Tuesday on preparations for the election that will be held at 37,000 public schools across the country.
Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo earlier assured teachers’ groups that the allowances and honoraria will be distributed not later than May 24, or 15 days after Election Day, as provided in Republic Act No. 10756, or the Election Service Reform Act.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) lauded the announcement as it would eliminate costs that are usually deducted when bank cards are used.
“This is an important development … [the board of election inspectors] previously experienced difficulties in getting their honoraria and allowances due to the unnecessary use of cash cards and because of the delays and unclear schedules of the release of payment,” the group said in a statement on Wednesday.
No word on 20% tax waiver
But there was no word on the waiver of the 20-percent tax on the teachers’ poll duty pay, which teachers protested because the amount was already too “paltry” compared to the work that election inspectors usually do.
“We hope that Comelec will finally meet with us in a dialogue so we can further collaborate on how to better ensure the welfare of election frontliners,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general.
An official of the Department of Education (DepEd) said on Wednesday that the schools to be used as polling places were already ready for the election.
“All of these [schools] are ready and they are also prepared for testing and sealing [of the vote-counting machines] from May 2 to 7,” Marcelo Bragado, DepEd director of public affairs services, said in an interview with Unang Balita.
To avoid crowding, he said voter assistance desks would be available for voters to check the location of their precincts.
The DepEd earlier announced that classes at all levels in public schools will be suspended from May 2 to May 13 to make way for election-related activities.
Despite this, teachers are still mandated to report to school even if they will not serve the elections—a policy that the Teachers Dignity Coalition questioned.
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