The Department of Education has reached out to the Commission on Elections and requested for additional compensation and benefits for poll workers in the 2022 national elections.
Secretary Leonor Briones, in her letter to Comelec Chair Sheriff Abas, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic has prompted DepEd to request for increased honoraria for teaching and non-teaching personnel who will serve during the elections.
“We recognize that there is a need for a higher compensation for the teachers because the risk of the Covid-19 is still here. We also made sure that the requested amount or rates prescribed are just and reasonable,” Briones said in her letter in February.
Based on the DepEd proposal, the recommended compensation for the chairperson of Electoral Boards is P9,000 while the members of the board will have P8,000.
The DepEd supervisor official and the support staff should be compensated P7,000 and P5,000, respectively, considering the prevailing Consumer Price Index and inflation rate, as of January 2021.
Aside from the benefits provided for under the Election Service Reform Act, the DepEd also requested for a P500 daily Covid-19 hazard pay for authorized poll workers.
Provisions of onsite swab testing and other health services in case of the existence of Covid-19 during the election period, P1,000 allowance for food and water, and P2,000 for transportation expenses should also be considered, the request stated.
The DepEd also asked for the grant of honoraria for select members of the Comelec-DepEd Monitoring and Coordination teams from the central and field offices under the 2022 DepEd Election Task Force.
The teams will ensure that teachers will be provided with adequate information, technical and legal assistance in performing their election roles.
The department also proposed that teachers should work only for eight hours at the maximum, including the preparation and the post-election activities, while it requested for provision of funds for the maintenance and repair of schools that will be used as voting centers.
Briones urged DepEd officials to actively participate in the upcoming elections with integrity and honesty. “We call on all our officials and personnel to maintain neutrality, focus on non-partisan public service, and remain a beacon of integrity. We, at the Department of Education, thank our teacher-volunteers for continuing to be on the frontline of the foremost exercise of democracy in the country,” Briones said.*PNA