An opposition leader at the House of Representatives on Thursday welcomed the partial increase in the honorarium of election poll volunteers amounting to P3,000.
But House Assistant Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Rep France Castro appealed to the Senate to provide an even greater increase in honorarium, travel and food allowances and hazard pay for election service volunteers in the 2022 national budget.
This, considering the long hours and added risks they would be taking in the upcoming national elections.
Castro recalled that she and her fellow legislators from the Makabayan Bloc filed House Resolution 2181 urging the Commission on Elections to review the amounts of honoraria and allowances granted to public school teachers and other persons rendering election service pursuant to Section 4 of Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act.
Included in that resolution is the proposal of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers for the increases in the ESRA benefits, namely honoraria of P10,000 for Chairpersons of Electoral Boards, P9,000 for Members of Electoral Boards, P8,000 for DepEd Supervisor Officials, and P7,000 for support staff as well as travel allowance of P3,000 to P5,000 and food allowance of P2,500, Castro stated.
Also included in the proposal is payment for hazard pay “as we are still in a pandemic, providing hazard pay for poll workers is only just.”
“In the earlier statements of the COMELEC during the budget deliberation in the House of Representatives, they said that they could only provide a P2000 across the board increase in honoraria and 10-days service credits for election service volunteers for teachers,” Castro said.
“Their statement Wednesday saying they can provide a P3,000 increase in honoraria is a very welcome development,” she said.
“We now urge Congress, especially in the Senate where the proposed budget is now being tackled, to further increase the honoraria of election service volunteers to the proposal of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers and include the proposed benefits for poll volunteers by including adequate funds for COMELEC in the 2022 national budget.”
Castro also lauds the efforts of the country’s teachers’ unions who have been tirelessly campaigning for the increase in the honoraria and benefits for our election service volunteers as they still consist mostly of public-school teachers.
“Without the efforts of the collective action of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Unions, the demand of our teachers would not have been heard,” the solon said.
She added the Comelec’s pronouncement that the poll body would set voting hours from 6am to 7pm would mean “13 hours for voting, longer than the past elections…Longer hours for voting would mean that poll workers will have to serve longer hours for their election duties considering they fulfill tasks other than supervision of voting centers.”