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Comelec union asks for hike in poll duty pay

Dennis Carcamo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The rank and file of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Wednesday appealed to the poll body  to grant the hazard pay for all poll workers as well as their request for an increase in the honoraria for those who will serve as members of the board of canvassers during the May elections.

The Comelec Employees Union (EU) argued that the dangers faced by poll workers nationwide instensify as election day draws near.

"Comelec employees, most especially those from the field, are exposed to a lot of pressure during the election period. For poll workers, death threats, harassment and intimidation become an everyday occurrence especially in high risk areas. Some are even killed in the performance of their duty," Comelec-EU national president Mac Ramirez said.

The group also cited the incident involving Region XI election director, Atty. Jay Balisado, whose house was strafed by armed men last January 25.

There were also reports of harassment of poll workers who were conducting training sessions recently for Boards of Election Inspectors in various parts of the country, the group added.

"We expect these incidents to shoot up as Election Day approaches. It is for this reason that we respectfully appeal to the Honorable Commission En Banc to authorize the grant of hazard pay in recognition of the risks faced by Comelec employees nationwide," the group said.

For her part, Atty. Frances Aguindadao-Arabe, the group's public relations officer, poll workers who serve as chairpersons of the BOCs receive much less honoraria compared to their members from the Department of Education and city and municipal treasurers office because the honoraria is computed based on their basic pay.

"Comelec officials and employees’ pay is dismally outdated and grossly inappropriate compared to our nature of work. In fact, this has become a perennial source of embarrassment and demoralization for Comelec employees," added Aguindadao-Arabe, also the poll officer in Pasay City’s 2nd district.

BOARDS OF ELECTION INSPECTORS COMELEC COMELEC EMPLOYEES UNION DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ELECTION DAY FRANCES AGUINDADAO-ARABE HONORABLE COMMISSION EN BANC JAY BALISADO MAC RAMIREZ PASAY CITY POLL
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