Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Sunday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to give teachers who will be serving in the upcoming elections additional benefits.
In a statement, Marcos said public school teachers who will serve as board of election inspectors (BEIs) in the May 2016 elections should be entitled to receive additional non-monetary benefits, since Comelec failed to increase their honorarium of P4,500.
For the lawmaker, benefits may come in the form of insurance coverage and other assistance to protect them and their families.
"Public school teachers are mandated by law to serve as poll workers and tasked to supervise the whole process of the elections, from opening to the closing of polling precincts. Despite their appeals for a raise, the Comelec is retaining their P4,500 honorarium, the same amount they received in the 2013 midterm polls," Marcos said.
He also said teachers serving in the elections should be given compulsory insurance coverage, citing cases in which the lives of teachers were put on the line because of their role in the elections.
"Our teachers bear the brunt of election-related violence. They are exposed to violence during the voting and canvassing period with many of them getting hurt, subject to harassment and some even die in the line of duty. It is about time they get additional benefits so they will get the protection they deserve," Marcos said.
Given that many teachers face legal cases as a result of their role in the elections, Marcos also urged the poll body to ensure that teachers are well represented in court.
"One of the complaints I receive from our teachers is that they are hailed to court for doing their job but they are lamentably just left on their own to fight their battles. So, the Comelec must be vigilant that they get legal assistance," he said.
"We cannot overemphasize the important role our teachers play for our country's democratic process and we should at least give them some recognition for the sacrifices they give by ascertaining that they are compensated on time and protected in the conduct of their duties," Marcos added.