By Merlina Hernando-Malipot | Manila Bulletin
The Department of Education (DepEd) expressed optimism that the teachers who will serve as Electoral Board (EB) and poll workers in the upcoming 2022 national and local elections will receive higher honoraria amid the public health situation in the country.
In a virtual press briefing on Friday, Oct. 1, Education Secretary Leonor Briones said based on a survey the agency early this year, a significant number of teachers expressed willingness and preparedness to serve in the electoral process amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is also the reason why we said that our teachers are willing to take the risk, then, perhaps we should compensate them for their spirit of cooperation and helpfulness in the light of the additional risks that they are facing right now in the pandemic,” Briones said.
Briones said that DepEd already submitted its proposal to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the expanded honoraria of teachers and it has been endorsed it to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as well.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said that “we have to wait for the approval of the budget” for 2022 because “all of these are in the proposal stage.”
“Our proposal is still intact, it’s still included in the proposal of Comelec and we will have to wait what will the Congress and Senate will approve,” Sevilla said.
“I think it’s premature to comment because anything that is going on at the House and Senate are part of the budget process,” she added.
Sevilla said that more importantly, DepEd recognized this and formally informed Comelec on the need to increase poll honoraria of teachers serving during election which also included the budget for transportation, insurance and clean up of the schools.
“All of these are include in our proposal submitted to Comelec and we will wait for the approval of the budget – only then that we can say if it’s included or not,” she added.
Briones, in February 2021, reached out to Comelec through a formal letter and explained the DepEd’s proposal to increase the honoraria of teaching and non-teaching personnel who will serve during the election due to the public health situation.
Comelec, in a response letter of COMELEC Chairman Sheriff Abas dated April 29, through Executive Director Bartolome J. Sinocruz, Jr., fully supported the adjusted honoraria which gets bumped up to a P3,000 increase.
DepEd, in its proposal, prescribed the following honoraria rates based on the Consumer Price Index and Inflation Rate as of January 2021: P9,000 for Chairpersons; P8,000 for EB members; P7,000 for DepEd Supervisor Official (DESO); and P5,000 for Support Staff.