Press Release
April 14, 2016

Due to 11-hr voting, Recto seeks poll duty pay hike for teachers

With the May 9 voting hours prolonged from 6 am to 5pm, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to study the possibility of increasing by P1,000 the pay of teachers who will be on precinct duty for 15 straight hours.

The honorarium of teachers who will serve in the Board of Election Inspectors is presently pegged at P4,500 each, "but this was premised on shorter voting hours," Recto said.

"With this new sunrise-to-sunset voting hours, the least that Comelec can do is consult with the DBM on how to increase the election-day honorarium of teachers," Recto said.

"Teachers will be putting in hours equivalent to two factory shifts. Doon sa rules na nabasa ko, 5 o' clock in the morning nasa stations na sila to prepare the voting machines. Which means 4 am nasa travel na. The voting will end 5pm. Then sangkaterba pang post-voting procedures. Yung iba d'yan hatinggabi na makakauwi," Recto said.

By Recto's calculation, increasing by P1,000 the teacher's poll duty pay will cost less than P250 million, which he said " is a fraction of what we're paying suppliers for those voting machines."

The Department of Education (DepEd) said about 233,487 public school teachers will be marshaled to man the 92,509 clustered precincts where 54,363,329 registered voters are expected to troop to vote for a new set of officials, from the president down to town councilors.

Recto said the P250 million needed to bring the teacher's honorarium to P5,500 can be "initially sourced" from the P6.5 billion set aside in the Comelec's budget for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan voter's registration and elections slated later this year.

"Kumbaga, i-a-advance lang muna ng Comelec sa isang pondo na nakapaloob na sa budget nila. As a fiscally-independent body, the Comelec has the power to realign its own funds," Recto said.

He said the DBM can help in sourcing funds outside of Comelec's P16 billion budget this year. "There's the President's Contingent Fund at marami pa. Kung P300 million lang yan, pwede yan mahanapan ng pondo."

According to Recto, another option the government can pursue is to implement the new election duty pay rates mandated by Republic Act 10756, which President Aquino signed into law last April 8.

The law, which makes election service non-compulsory for public school teachers, prescribes the new rates as P6,000 for a Chairperson of Election Board; P5,000 for a Member of the Election Board; P4,000 for a DepEd Support Official; and P2,000 for Support Staff.

"Dito, mas matipid yata kasi magdadagdag ka lang ng P500 for a BEI member. But I would suggest na dagdagan--na gawin na nilang at least P1,000 because the teachers will be working for at least 15 hours."

Recto said "either way, increasing the pay by P1,000 or implementing RA 10756, the total additional cost may not reach P500 million, to cover all, including other personnel mobilized for the elections, like policemen."

The Comelec has a budget of P16 billion in this year when two national elections will be held.

On Tuesday, Comelec Chair Andres Bautista announced the new voting hours which was triggered by the Supreme Court order to the poll body to issue voting receipt.

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