Scrap vests for poll workers, Comelec urged
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) should abandon its plan of purchasing P26 million worth of vests for teachers serving in the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) as the additional layer of clothing would further contribute the heat, according to Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.
Pimentel said the P26 million set aside for the BEI uniforms could be put to better use, especially since these would only be used for one day.
The money could be added to the compensation for the public school teachers assigned to man the elections, said Pimentel.
“Such an additional layer of clothing might even make an already very warm day a lot hotter,” he said in a text message, noting that election day would fall in the middle of the summer season.
The vests are designed to be worn over the clothing of the BEI members.
Pimentel, who chairs the joint congressional oversight committee on the automated elections, also noted that he has heard no requests from BEI members or from public school teachers that they be given a uniform for election day.
“Hence, the question is why, oh why, are we going to spend for these items?” he said.
“The Comelec is too much, it does not know what to do with its money,” he said.
The simple solution would be to add the funds allocated for the vests, which would cost P75 a piece, to the pay of those serving in the elections, he said.
The Comelec justified its decision to procure the vests for the May elections, saying it was intended to lift the spirits of those serving the elections and boost the credibility of the polls.
The poll body held a pre-bid conference for the items on Wednesday.
The Comelec plan has earned criticism from citizens on social media, who called it an unnecessary expense.
Some also said the teachers’ ordinary uniform should suffice, while others pointed out that elections in the past have pushed through even without the BEI special uniform.