MANILA — Congress failed to a pass a measure that would have made the benefits received by those serving in the May 9 elections tax-free, an official from the Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday.
Undersecretary Alain Pascua, who heads the DepEd's election task force, gave the explanation as a teachers' group called on officials to scrap the tax imposed on the honoraria of poll workers.
At the Laging Handa public briefing, Pascua said both the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Bureau of Internal Revenue agree with the DepEd's position that poll workers should receive their honoraria and allowances without deductions.
"Subalit may batas na kailangang i-amend bago ma-implement ang exemption," he said, referring to the Internal Revenue Code.
(But there's a law that needs to be amended before implementing an exemption.)
"'Yan pong amendment sa batas ay hindi nagawa ng Kongreso kaya hanggang ngayon, ang ating honoraria at allowances, hindi sila tax-exempted," Pascua said.
(That amendment in the law was not done by Congress, which is why until now, our honoraria and allowances are still not tax-exempted.)
Also on Wednesday, members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to the Comelec headquarters in Manila, demanding a dialogue with the poll body.
"Many of [our teachers'] concerns [regarding the elections] remain unaddressed, which is akin to sending our teachers to the battlefield without armaments," ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
The group added that the "clamor for [Board of Election Inspectors] to get their full honoraria and allowances remain loud and strong."
Some 320,000 teachers will serve as Board of Election members in the May 9 polls, according to Pascua.
In November, the Comelec issued a resolution providing the honoraria rates for poll workers in the 2022 elections:
- Chairperson of electoral board - P7,000
- Members of EB - P6,000
- DepEd Supervisor Official (DESO) - P5,000
- Support staff - P3,000
- Medical personnel - P3,000
Education Undersecretary Annalyn Sevilla said poll workers would also get a P2,000 transportation allowance, P1,500 communication allowance, P500 anti-COVID-19 allowance, and medical and accident insurances.
Last year, Senate Basic Education Committee Chairman Sherwin Gatchalian pushed for the passage of a bill that would exempt election workers from taxes.