DepEd seeks increased pay from Comelec for teacher-volunteers in elections

Christian Deiparine - Philstar.com
DepEd seeks increased pay from Comelec for teacher-volunteers in elections
In this May 2019 photo, teachers of the Pinyahan Elementary School in Quezon City conduct testing and sealing upon the arrival of Vote Counting Machine at their school
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education on Thursday said it has sought additional pay for teachers who serve as poll watchers with the 2022 elections set nearly a year from now.

Secretary Leonor Briones made the request to Chairman Sheriff Abas of the Commission on Elections through a letter in February, according to a release by the agency.

Here, DepEd proposed a P3,000-increase for pay of teacher-volunteers. This translates to P9,000 for electoral board chairpersons, P8,000 for members, P7,000 for supervisor officlas and P5,000 for support staff. 

“We recognize that there is a need for a higher compensation for the teachers because the risk of the COVID-19 is still here," Briones said. "We also made sure that the requested amount or rates prescribed are just and reasonable."

Teachers have served as poll watchers in Philippine elections since time immemorial. Often, this meant facing election-related violence especially in the southern parts of the country.

It was not immediately clear as to how many teachers in the last elections in 2019 served as volunteers.

But in the next polls, it is likely that they will have to brave the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, whose grip in the country remains hard and vaccines administered to over a million to date.

Discussions between Comelec and DepEd began as early as February, the release added. Among the proposals was a daily P500 hazard pay for poll workers, as well as on-site swab testing and other health services. 

The agency said too that a P1,000 allowance for meals and P2,000 for transportation will also be considered. It asked Comelec too for provision of funds for maintenance and repair of schools that would be used as voting sites. 

Further, DepEd said teachers should only have to render a maximum of eight hours work for election-related activities, including on preparations.

“We call on all our officials and personnel to maintain neutrality, focus on non-partisan public service, and remain a beacon of integrity," Briones said.

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