SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – Some 240,000 teachers nationwide want an increase in poll duty pay from P4,000 to P6,000 when they are fielded in the May elections.
In a telephone interview, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. Antonio Tinio said the funds could be derived from the savings of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“The pay of teachers who go on poll duty has remained the same since 2004 despite the increase in cost of living,” he said.
“The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released some P4-billion worth of savings of the Comelec, and we want assurance that part of this would be committed for the increase in the poll duty pay of the teachers.”
An increase of P2,000 would require a budget of about P480 million for the 240,000 teachers.
Tinio said the P4-billion savings must be used for hardware purchases and the increase of pay of teachers to be fielded in the elections.
“But that doesn’t mean the teachers are now less burdened,” he said.
“On the contrary, they are more burdened since automation led to more precinct clusters catering to four times the number of voters before automation.”
Tinio said about P960 million is budgeted for the pay of the 240,000 teachers in the polls at P4,000 each. Another P480 million could be derived from the P4-billion savings of the Comelec to increase their pay to P6,000 each, he added.
Tinio also asked the Comelec, the Public Attorney’s Office and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to “institutionalize” free legal assistance for teachers who are “legally harassed” by election losers.
“There are still cases wherein teachers are left on their own in shouldering legal costs in cases filed against them by losing candidates, especially in barangay elections,” he said.
Law enforcement authorities must also take into consideration the security of teachers on poll duty, Tinio said.