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ACT Teachers solon hails COMELEC support for teachers’ benefits, welfare in 2013 polls

29 April 2012 No Comment

NEWS RELEASE

April 26, 2012
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ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio welcomes the support pledged by Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chair Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. for teachers’ rights and welfare at a dialogue Wednesday, April 25, at Intramuros.: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)

 

The dialogue was set up by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) to advance proposals for higher compensation and adequate protection of teachers who will be deputized by COMELEC in the national polls next year.

 

Revealing that he had seen firsthand the sacrifices of teachers during elections, Brillantes understands the need to compensate them fairly.  “We will not object to whatever you [teachers] will ask,” he says, referring to the poll body which he chairs.  He stresses, however, that there should be a similar commitment on the part of the executive branch, particularly the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), in the form of budgetary allocations.

 

Tinio and ACT seeks higher pay for teachers who sit in the boards of election inspectors (BEIs) and support personnel (P5,000 and P1,500, respectively for the entire three-day election service).  They also propose a P3,000-honorarium for principals deputized as precinct supervisors.  Previously, teachers were given P4,000 and principals were not paid at all.

 

As for the perennial delay in the giving of honoraria, Brilliantes says, “Maipapangako ko sa inyo—hindi na made-delay.”

 

Brillantes also supports the enactment of Tinio’s House Bill 4096, which seeks to open election service to all citizens, thus releasing public school teachers from the burden of preparing for elections and running them at the precinct level.  Pending its enactment, Brillantes says that COMELEC may issue resolutions that would allow exceptions to mandatory service for health reasons, age, and the like.  He adds that COMELEC is studying other ways to ease the load of BEIs, such as streamlining the procedure inside precincts.

 

Tinio brought to COMELEC’s attention the failure of thousands of teachers to vote during the 2010 elections.  With the implementation of automation, those in BEIs were prevented from voting in the precincts where they were assigned because the precinct count optical scan machines there do not contain their names.  They did not have time to go to the precincts where they were registered due to the clustering of precincts and heavy work load.  Brillantes vows to put three extra ballots per precinct to enable BEI members to vote in the 2013 polls.  He also commits to study other proposals to prevent a recurrence of the disenfranchisement, such as early appointment of BEIs, longer breaks, and inclusion of teachers in the rules for domestic absentee voting.

 

Tinio relayed teachers’ concerns on security.  Brillantes agrees that greater protection from harassment, intimidation, and violence should be given to teachers, and promises closer coordination of the COMELEC with the Philippine National Police.

 

Tinio also proposes an insurance fund higher than the P200,000,000 appropriated for the last elections, which would afford teachers a hazard pay, sufficient coverage for medical assistance, and life insurance.

 

Lastly, Tinio stresses the need for extending protection to teachers after the elections, in the form of legal assistance for teachers sued for election-related criminal and administrative charges.  Brillantes raised the possibility of having a kitty fund from which COMELEC would tap for the services of the Public Attorney’s Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, or private lawyers who will aid these teachers.

 

To make the above proposals possible, Tinio and Brillantes vowed to cooperate towards a higher COMELEC budget at the deliberations for the 2013 General Appropriations Act beginning August this year.

 

“This support voiced by the country’s polling agency only proves that there are material bases for teachers’ clamor for fair compensation and adequate physical, political, and legal protection for their efforts and sacrifices,” Tinio says.  “Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro is now joined by COMELEC Chair Brillantes in rallying behind teachers in their struggle for rights and welfare during elections.”

 

“It is high time for President Aquino to do the same—we challenge him to direct the DBM and his allies in Congress to champion a higher COMELEC budget to make all these proposed reforms possible, and to enable the swift enactment of related legislative reforms such as HB 4096.”  ###

 

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