ACT urges tax-exempt honoraria, overtime pay for BSKE 2023 poll workers

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

By GISELLE OMBAY, GMA Integrated News

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Tuesday repeated its call to remove the tax from the honoraria that poll workers will be receiving for their service during the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), and to provide them necessary compensation for their overtime.

At a press conference, ACT chairperson Vladimer Quetua said that teachers who rendered service for the recently concluded BSKE should be given a P10,000 net honoraria.

“Hindi na kasi sasapat ‘yung nare-receive ng mga teachers o mga poll workers in general sa kanyang kompensasyon. Alam naman natin na kahit may extra na pagboboluntaryo na nagbabantay, pero makikita niyo na talagang teacher pa rin ang nagbabantay,” he said.

(What teachers or poll workers receive as compensation are no longer enough. We know that even though there are extra volunteers who are monitoring the polls, you can see that the teachers are still the ones monitoring.)

“‘Wag niyo nang buwisan ang mga teachers dito. Ang panawagan, dagdagan niyo pa nga itong honoraria ng teachers. Dapat minimum. Sa aming pagtatantya, dapat nga doblehin niyo,” he added.

(Remove the tax. You should even increase the teachers’ honoraria. It must be minimum. In our estimation, you should even double it.)

According to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), chairman and electoral board members for BSKE 2023 will receive P10,000 and P9,000 of honoraria, respectively. This was an increase from the previous P6,000 and P5,000 granted to them.

However, ACT decried the 20% tax deduction that will be applied to the said amounts.

Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary Michael Poa said Monday that they have already touched base with Comelec to ensure that the Board of Election Inspectors will get their poll duty honoraria.

“The funding was downloaded to the DepEd and the poll body is just waiting for pertinent reports from the teachers for the release of the honoraria,” he said.

Under existing rules, the poll duty honoraria should be released to the teachers within 15 days, but according to Poa, they are “working for an even earlier release.”

ACT NCR Union president Ruby Bernardo also stressed that the P9,000 to P10,000 honoraria for teachers are not enough as many of them extended their poll work hours due to various reasons.

“Bago pa lamang ang eleksyon, during the training, at kahit sa paghahanda sa ating mga presinto, naglaan na ng oras ang mga teachers. Lima hanggang sampung oras ‘yan,” she said.

(The teachers allotted time before the election, during their training, and even in the preparation in the polling precincts. That’s five to ten hours.)

“Isipin niyo ang mga teachers natin ay madaling araw pa mula kahapon nasa mga presinto at hanggang ngayon, hindi pa natutulog. Hindi robot at makina ang mga teachers at poll workers natin kaya kailangan ng karagdagang benepisyo. Overtime pay ang hihingi natin,” she continued.

(Think about our teachers who have been in the polling precincts since early morning yesterday and until now, they haven’t slept. Our teachers and poll workers are not robots and machines, so additional benefits should be given to them. We are asking for overtime pay.)

Aside from the tax-exempt honoraria and overtime pay, ACT also appealed for poll workers to be granted meal and travel allowances for their BSKE 2023 services. — BM, GMA Integrated News

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