Senate urged to pass measure exempting poll workers' honoraria from tax

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2021 02:23 PM

People fill up forms as they process their voter’s registration at the Commission on Election office at the Manila City hall on May 17, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File
People fill up forms as they process their voter’s registration at the Commission on Election office at the Manila City hall on May 17, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — A teachers' group on Monday urged the Senate to pass a measure exempting election workers' compensation from being taxed.

"Public school teachers performing the noble, essential, and often dangerous duties of poll workers deserve to get their compensation in full, especially as the coming elections will be held in the midst of a raging pandemic and worsening economic crisis," Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.

"We call on our duly-elected lawmakers to make this their priority," he said.

Basilio made the appeal after the House of Representatives approved on second reading earlier this month House Bill No. 9652, which seeks to exempt election workers' honoraria, allowance and other financial benefits free from tax.

A counterpart measure filed in 2019 by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian, Senate Bill No. 1193, remains pending at the committee level.

Basilio said he hoped the "Senate will urgently follow suit," referring to the passage of the House bill.

ACT also called on relevant bodies to ensure free COVID-19 testing, hazard pay, hygiene kits, medical services and aid, and health marshalls for election personnel, a role taken on by education workers.

The Commission on Elections earlier approved of the Department of Education's request to raise the honoraria of education personnel who will serve as poll workers in next year's elections.

But the poll body and the education department will still study other benefits such as on-site swab testing for COVID-19 and tax exemption.

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