THE Department of Education (DepEd) got the approval of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to increase the honoraria of teachers who will serve as Electoral Board (EB) and poll workers in the upcoming 2022 National and Local Elections.
Last February, DepEd Secretary Leonor M. Briones sent Comelec a formal letter proposing to increase the honoraria of teaching and non-teaching personnel who will serve during the election due to the public health situation.
“We want to express our gratitude to the Comelec for approving our request for higher compensation for our teachers that will render their services in the next year’s election. Given the current health situation, it is rightful for them to receive additional allowance,” Briones said.
In a response letter by Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abas dated April 29, through Executive Director Bartolome J. Sinocruz Jr., the Commission fully supported the adjusted honoraria, which is bumped up to a P3,000 increase.
In the proposal, DepEd prescribed the following honoraria rates based on the consumer price index and inflation rate as of January 2021: P9,000 for chairpersons; P8,000 for EB members; P7,000 for DepEd supervisor official; and P5,000 for support staff.
In addition to the remuneration, Comelec will include the provision of transportation allowance, food and water allowance, and clean-up and repair/maintenance expenses as part of its budget proposal for the 2022 elections.
With the current risk of COVID-19, DepEd’s request for health insurance coverage for those who will be infected with the virus will also be part of the budget proposal. Other benefits such as on-site swab testing, shifting, and working hours of public school teachers in the EB, tax exemption, and any absence/transfer/leave of DepEd employees due to election-related incidents will still be studied by the Commission and the agency.
To ensure that teachers will be technically and legally equipped for the upcoming elections, DepEd also proposed the creation of Comelec-DepEd Monitoring and Coordination Teams as part of the 2022 DepEd Election Task Force, composed of select officials and personnel from the different levels of DepEd governance. According to the Commission, the honoraria for members of the Monitoring and Coordination Teams will also be put forward in the budget.
“With DepEd and the teachers’ vital participation in the 2022 National and Local Elections, we will continue our dialogue with COMELEC to ensure the health and welfare of our teachers and personnel who will be sitting in the polling,” Briones noted.
Before arriving at the decision, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo and DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua discussed the matter as early as February 8 this year. DepEd’s Bureau of Human Resources and Organizational Development calculated the rate increase.
“While DepEd and COMELEC have both agreed on the proposal, the proposed increase will still need the approval of Congress when they deliberate the annual budget,” Pascua said.