By Merlina Hernando-Malipot | Manila Bulletin
A group of education workers urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to further discuss the compensation of teachers who will serve in the upcoming May 2022 elections.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a statement issued Friday, March 4, said that the Comelec should tackle teacher-poll workers’ compensation in light of the P200-million increase in its 2022 budget.
Aside from the compensation of poll workers, ACT also urged Comelec to consider the benefits and allowances of teachers who will serve in the election and the need for an info-education drive for the electorate.
“We understand that the Comelec may be swamped with electoral concerns now that campaign season has opened, but we argue that the welfare of its poll workers needs to be included in its priorities,” said explained ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio pointed out that teachers will be at the “frontlines of one of the most polarized elections, to say the least, in recent history” thus, “it’s in the best interest of the country to ensure that teacher-poll workers’ concerns are heard and addressed and that they are fully equipped for their pivotal role in the May 9 polls.”
ACT also questioned Comelec’s “lack of response” to its requests for dialogue which were filed in November 2021 and February 2022.
Among the group’s urgent issues is the poor compensation for members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs).
ACT said that the maximum amount of BEI honoraria only comes to P7,000 and allowances are only at P2,000 while the recently introduced P500 anti-Covid-19 allowance was removed in the 2022 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
For ACT, these do not respond to the “dire economic situation” of teachers amid the pandemic.
The group also urged Comelec to discuss with teacher-poll workers how best to utilize the P200-million additional funds to improve the compensation and discuss with teacher-poll workers how best to utilize the P200-million additional funds to improve the compensation and overall welfare of about 250,000 poll workers.
“Our BEIs will be responsible for up to 800 voters per precinct since we have about 67.5 million registered voters,” Basilio said.
“The high stakes for this election cannot be overstated, and Comelec should afford its frontliners the best pay and protection they can,” he added.
ACT also demanded the fulfillment of Comelec’s earlier pronouncement that any increase in its budget will go to teachers’ honoraria and allowances.
As the May 9 election nears, ACT said that it is also starting to receive reports of issues from the ground related to preliminary activities held for BEIs.
Given this, ACT continues to urge Comelec to meet them in a dialogue at the soonest possible time to discuss and address election-related issues of teacher-poll workers.