'Maximum protection' sought for teachers serving in the 2022 polls

'Maximum protection' sought for teachers serving in the 2022 polls
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 — Sen. Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian called on the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to ensure "maximum protection" for teachers serving in this year's elections, especially those located in areas of concern. 

He made the call two weeks before the national and local elections would take place.

"Teachers are our frontliners in maintaining order in our elections. We should certainly give them protection from any kind of disorder or violence on the day of the elections, since their lives are at stake," Gatchalian, who chairs his chamber's basic education, arts and culture committee said in Filipino in an emailed statement on Friday. 

Citing data from the DILG and PNP, the lawmaker said that 105 municipalities and 15 cities may be identified as areas of concern or "red areas" which experienced election-related incidents and serious" threats" from armed groups. The Commission on Elections has yet to release the final list of places under concern. 

Teachers are part of the Electoral Boards (EBs). Members of the EB will receive honoraria, travel allowances, communication allowances, anti-COVID-19 allowances and service credits for their services from the government. 

Department of Education previously estimated that around 600,000 of its personnel will work together with the poll body in ensuring the democratic process in this year's national and local elections. 

Gatchalian is pushing for exempting the allowances of teachers rendering election-related work in this year's polls. As it stands, their compensation is subject to a 20% income tax, which teachers' group Alliance of Concerned Teachers Philippines decried last month. 

In a hearing yesterday, the Department of Finance (DOF) and Bureau of Internal Revenue said they were firm in keeping taxes for teachers' extra pay for poll work

Finance Director IV Arvin Lawrence Quiñones has said that the proposed exemption in taxes is unfair and will complicate the government's tax system. He added that the government should look at giving other incentives for teachers, other than exempting their poll-related pay from income taxes. — Angelica Y. Yang






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