CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Amid their demand for higher polls duty pay, some 200,000 public school teachers who will man voting precincts in the coming May elections will instead get renumeration lower by P300.
ACT Teachers’ party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio told Punto in a telephone interview that this was because the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has determined that the usual “sealing of the book of voters” would no longer be necessary. This would take away P300 from the P4,300 total they got during the first automated elections in 2010.
Tinio noted that in the 2010 polls, the teachers got a total of P4,300 for polls duty that also covered training in the operation of the Smartmatic machines. The amount included P3,000 as honorarium, P500 for sealing the book of voters, P500 for testing and sealing of voting machines, and P300 for transportation allowance.
In the coming elections, the teachers are to get only P4,000 each, covering P3,000 honorarium, an increased P500 for transportation allowance, and P500 for testing and sealing the voting machines.
Tinio, however, said that he and other leaders of public school teachers have sought a meeting with top Comelec officials for the increase of the teachers’ honorarium from P3,000 to P5,000.
He said the Comelec could afford this, as he noted that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced only last January the release of P4.14 billion to the Comelec to support preparatory activities for the synchronized national, local, and ARMM elections this year.
The release was charged against savings from unutilized appropriations under the 2012 General Appropriations Act.
Tinio said that the honorarium covers not only the election and following day, but also the training of teachers on how to operate and troubleshoot voting machines. “The dry run of the machines showed glitches so we see how critical the role of the teachers is when it comes to coping with such problems,” he noted.
Tinio also reminded teachers assigned to the elections that they are covered by some P30 million Comelec funds allocated for accident or life insurance.
“Families of teachers who were killed in line of duty in the last elections were given the maximum of P200,000 each” he said.
This, even as ACT Teachers party-list has asked the Department of Education (DepEd) to come out with the memorandum reminding teachers assigned to polls to register for early voting privilege on March 15 to enable them to cast their votes from April 28 to 30.
“This privilege was issued by the Comelec only last week, so many teachers who would be preoccupied in the coming elections that they can cast their votes ealier,” Tinio stressed.