DepEd asks Comelec to further hike teachers' pay for #Halalan2022 duty

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2021 11:25 AM

People participate in COMELEC’s mock elections at the San Juan Elementary School on October 23, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
People participate in COMELEC’s mock elections at the San Juan Elementary School on October 23, 2021. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA— The Department of Education (DepEd) on Saturday said it is "still hoping" for a further P2,000 increase in the honoraria for teachers who will serve in the 2022 elections. 

This, even as the Commission on Elections already approved their pay hike earlier this month in anticipation of longer voting hours on election day next year.

In a statement, the department said while Comelec has approved their requested pay increase, the "granted rates were below par with the proposed remuneration of DepEd."

The approved honoraria for teachers in Comelec's November resolution are as follows: 

  • 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

This is already higher compared to 2019 rates. Based on Comelec's resolution, next year's EB chairs were granted a P2,000 pay hike, EB members P2,500, and DESO and support staff were granted a P3,000 raise.

But DepEd's request filed on June 2021 have the following rates: 

  • Chairperson of EB - P9,000
  • Members of EB - P8,000
  • DESO - P7,000
  • Support staff - P5,000

The department said these were based on the Consumer Price Index and Inflation Rate as of January, which is why they are asking for the slight increase. 

Education Secretary Leonor Briones said they would coordinate with Comelec on the matter.

"Although it is less than our proposed increase for our teachers who will serve as poll workers, we appreciate the adjusted rates, and we will coordinate with Comelec for possible increase of the honoraria and other allowances and benefits," Briones added. 

The agency also said they appealed for insurance coverage for teachers who may contract COVID-19 while on election duty.

"Other benefits such as on-site swab testing, shifting, and working hours of public school teachers in the EB, tax exemption, and any absence/transfer/leave of DepEd employees due to election-related incidents will still be studied by the Commission and the Department," the statement read. 

SLASHED COMELEC BUDGET

ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said their honorarium should be at P10,000, with separate allowances. 

The medical assistance of P200,000 for teachers who would contract COVID-19 should also not be limited to such amount, he added. 

"Yung travel allowance na sinasabi, 'yung COVID allowance ay labas po sana doon sa P10,000," he said. 

(The travel allowance and COVID allowance should be separate from the P10,000 given to us.)

"Ang pangalawang concern din po talaga naman ay 'yung pagtatakda ng Comelec doon sa P200,000 bilang pondo na maaring mahingi ng isang guro na magkasakit dito sa paglilingkod sa halalan ay medyo alanganin ano. Kasi dapat 'yung health assistance ay dapat maging open na walang limit," he explained. 

(Our second concern is the P200,000 intended funds for teachers who will get sick during their duties in next year's elections. The health assistance should be open and without limit.)

But for Comelec's Elaiza Sabile-David, a director of the commission's Education and Information Department, the approved pay hike was based on the budget given to them. 

Comelec sought a P41.92 billion spending plan for 2022 but the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) only allocated P26.49 billion under the National Expenditure Program (NEP) submitted to Congress.

"Yung approved na budget na iyon is malaki nawala, kumbaga nabawas. Hindi lang po apektado diyan ang compensation ng mga election workers, pati na rin po sa aming preparation din po," said David.

(The approved budget was slashed by a lot. The compensation of election workers aren't only affected, but the preparations as well.)

"Sana mas mapapaganda pa po sana if we have enough budget na 'yung na proposed budget mismo ang na-approve."

(It is better if we have anough budget and if our proposed budget was approved.)

Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua, however, explained that all the benefits are still "not final" and it could still change depending on their negotiations with the commission. 

"Kaya nagkaroon po ng limit na ganyan, limit sa allowances sa COVID at saka sa medication, 'yan po ay ginagawa lang average para sa ganun makasumite ng budget sa Kongreso, pero 'yung actual po ay pinag-aaralan pa talaga ng DepEd," Pascua said. 

(The limits on the allowances and the medication are just "averages" so the proposed budget could be passed to Congress. But the actual rates are still being studied by DepEd.)

"Pinag-aaralan rin ng Comelec kung paano natin tutugunan 'yung mga nangyayari sa ating mga teachers doon sa actual na nangyayari. 'Yan po ay hindi pa tapos, pinag-aaralan pa po natin," he added. 

(The Comelec is trying to respond to what is happening to the teachers on the ground and what is expected to happen. This is still not final, we are still studying it.)

— with reports from Jekki Pascual, Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, and Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

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