Comelec

‘Anyare?’: Comelec hit for ‘minimal’ pay hike of 2022 poll workers

Dwight de Leon

TRAINING. Teachers in Tarlac practice using vote-counting machines in the 2016 elections.

Rappler

'[The Comelec] committed in the House committee hearings that they would increase the honoraria by P3,000 but it is not reflected in the resolution,' says ACT Teachers Representative France Castro

A teachers’ group slammed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for supposedly reneging on its promised P3,000 increase in the honoraria of poll workers for the 2022 polls.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo told lawmakers about such a pay hike during a House suffrage panel hearing on Wednesday, November 10.

“For the honorarium, we increased [it to] P3,000 across-the-board,” Casquejo had said.

But a Comelec resolution made available on Friday, November 12, showed only an additional P1,000 increase in the honoraria of poll workers across-the-board, namely chairpersons of the electoral board, EB members, Department of Education supervisor officials (DESO), and their support staff.

“Anyare sa honoraria ng poll workers (What happened to the honoraria of poll workers)?” party-list group ACT Teachers said in a statement on Sunday, November 14.

“We would like the Comelec to clarify Section 33 of Comelec Resolution 10727. They committed in the House committee hearings that they would increase the honoraria by P3,000 but it is not reflected in the resolution,” ACT Teachers Representative France Castro added.

Castro expressed alarm over the “minimal” pay hike, citing the longer hours that electoral boards – mostly composed of teachers – will serve during the vote.

For May 9, 2022, voting hours are from 6 am to 7 pm. In 2019, polling precincts closed at 6 pm.

“Longer hours of voting means longer hours of service for our poll workers. We must ensure that they are well compensated and are protected from illnesses and harm,” added Castro, who is also a House assistant minority leader.

Individuals who are fully vaccinated, without comorbidities, and under 60 years old will be given preference for the composition of electoral boards due to pandemic-driven risks.

Pay bump in allowances

If an increase in allowances is taken into consideration, however, some election day personnel would be paid by as much as P3,000 more, compared to honoraria and allowances in the 2019 elections.

For example, the DESO and their support staff will get an additional P1,000 for their travel, communication, and anti-COVID-19 allowances, on top of the additional P1,000 increase in their honoraria.

The summary of the pay hike can be seen below.

PAY HIKE. Poll workers for the 2022 elections will see an increase in their honoraria and other allowances.

The second table below, meanwhile, compares what poll workers received in 2019, and what they will receive in 2022.

PAY HIKE. Electoral boards will get a pay bump for the 2022 elections.

Medical personnel, a new category, will receive P4,500 in honoraria and other allowances.

Budget constraints

Casquejo also told lawmakers on Wednesday that the COVID-19 testing of electoral boards will depend on whether the poll body will be given additional funds.

“If the budget will be increased, we will include, for example, antigen or RT-PCR testing of electoral boards during election day,” Casquejo had said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Senate is still conducting deliberations on the proposed 2022 budget. The Duterte government requested a P26.5-billion budget for the Comelec in 2022, more than double the budget the election body received in the last presidential election year.

The executive branch’s proposal, however, was lower compared to the Comelec’s request of P41.99 billion for 2022.

The Comelec said in August that the cut in its proposed budget would severely affect the pay of electoral boards.

Castro previously proposed a P4,000 increase in honoraria across-the-board due to the demands of election-day duties.

“Teachers spend an entire day during elections. They also attend trainings and webinars. They also go to the school ahead of election day to prepare the rooms and machines,” Castro had said. – Rappler.com

Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.