DepEd-COMELEC Memorandum of Agreement on the 2013 elections
From the MOA (signed on April 10, 2013):
x x x
1. The COMELEC will pay the following:
1.1. For public school teachers who will serve as chairmen or members of the BEI:
1.1.1. THREE THOUSAND PESOS (Php3,000.000) as honorarium for serving as BEI chairmen and members;
1.1.2. FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (Php500.00) – for the final testing and sealing;
1.1.3. FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (Php500.00) – one-time transportation allowance.
1.2. For public school teachers, principals, or supervisors who will serve as Supervisors for ten (10) clustered precincts or fraction thereof – the amount of THREE THOUSAND PESOS (Php3,000.000) per person;
1.3. For those who will act as support staff of the said Supervisors mentioned in the preceding paragraph 1.2 the amount of ONE THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED PESOS (Php1,500.00) per member of the support staff;
1.4. For supervisors or superintendents who will serve as members of the City or Municipal, District, Provincial, or Regional Boards of Canvassers – the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (Php5,000.00) per member.
2. COMELEC shall allocate and provide the amount of THIRTY MILLION PESOS (30,000,000.00) for election-related death or injuries that may be sustained by DepEd employees in the performance of election duties; the heirs of the deceeased official/employee shall be given the amount of TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Php200,000.00).
x x x
May 8, 2013
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Davao Region wishes to express its anger and dismay over the recent pronouncement of the Comelec election officer Atty. Aimee Perolino-Ampoloquio that public school teachers serving as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) are “forgetful” and “stupid” for having difficulties with the Automated Election System (AES). This pronouncement is incredibly offensive to our teacher-BEIs and extremely unprofessional coming from a fellow government employee. Even if Atty. Ampoloquio was speaking of her own volition, we have yet to hear any disavowals or apologies from the Comelec for her unfair and degrading characterization of teacher-BEIs. Are we, concerned teachers, to take Comelec’s silence as implicit agreement with what we consider to be a professional, and even personal, insult? If that is the case, it now seems that the Comelec is looking for someone to throw under the bus in the event of a failure of election. It is extremely saddening that the people they are now poised to blame are the exact same people in the frontlines who have done nothing but their best to ensure that every Philippine election is smoothly carried out.
Atty. Ampoloquio’s statement is symptomatic of the overall irresponsibility and unpreparedness of the agency – from their handling of the elections to their pronouncements. Worse, this is symptomatic of the very low regard the Comelec has for our teacher-BEIs, notwithstanding the historical fact that our public school teachers have, time and again, proven their credibility, integrity and dedication to protecting the votes of the nation, sometimes at the cost of their own lives.
May we remind the agency that school teachers were expressly chosen for this duty because they enjoy the trust of the voting public – more so, it now seems, than the very agency tasked with running the elections. As people who strive to be model citizens, we will not stoop so low as to hurl insults at that agency, such as what we have been subjected to. But we will demand that our dignity be recognized, and ask for nothing less than a public apology from the Comelec for this affront.
Elenito R. Escalante
President, Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Davao Region
Contact No. 0923-8528506
8 May 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
ACT TEACHERS Party-List strongly condemns the statement of Davao City election officer Aimee Ampoloquio saying that teachers sitting as poll workers with failing PCOS machines during final testing or sealing (FTS) are “forgetful or stupid.”
Media sources quoted Ampoloquio saying “It’s either they [the teachers] are forgetful or they are stupid.”
“Her statement is irresponsible and illogical,” said ACT TEACHERS solon Antonio Tinio. “Errors found in Davao and in other FTS centers nationwide are due to the PCOS machines themselves, not the teachers.”
Errors reported include failure to initialize due to CF card errors, ballot rejection, shutdown due to thermal printer issues, or unexplained freezing. IT experts from watchdog Kontra Daya predicted that the machines will present errors due to long storage and disuse, in addition to the errors inherent in the untested technology.
“COMELEC officials who lay blame on teachers for these PCOS errors display ignorance on the scope of BEIs’ roles as regards the machines or are merely looking for scapegoats to cover up for this unreliable technology,” Tinio stressed. “These errors will remain until COMELEC follows the AES Law and opens the PCOS up to public scrutiny, mainly through the source code review.”
“Until then, neither Ampoloquio nor any local or national COMELEC official has no right to blame teachers–its deputies–for these errors.”
Tinio added that teachers do not enjoy full COMELEC support. Though the poll body requires at least one member of the BEI to be IT-capable, it provided neither sufficient training nor compensation for the teacher hired as such. Those who sat in COMELEC’s “trainings” or “refresher courses” reported that trainors just read or repeated what was wrirten in the manual.
“In 2010, COMELEC, on paper at least, required a PCOS technician for every precinct, provided by Smartmatic. This year, it didn’t,” Tinio added. “Reports have reached us that technicians from Smartmatic or outside sources are paid more than the BEIs. This is discriminatory.”
Finally, Tinio urged COMELEC to hold Ampoloquio, who suggested that the Davao BEIs must be questioned, liable for her unethical and groundless attitude.
“Her words demean those who, for decades, have been guarding the sanctity of our votes, oftentimes at great risk to their security. This is highly reprehensible as she, the top local election official in Davao City, cast shadows on the capability and integrity of teachers in general.” ###
30 April 2013
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
“Once again, President Aquino displayed his expertise in enraging workers on their special day,” said ACT TEACHERS Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio, on the Presidential announcement that workers cannot expect any wage hike on Labor Day.
“The anti-labor character of this President, whose wage policies for both private and public sectors have dragged workers deeper into poverty, is getting clearer every day,” said the progressive legislator.
Tinio slammed in particular Aquino’s planned imposition nationwide of CALABARZON’s Two-Tiered Wage System that would dump the minimum-wage system in favor of a “floor wage” and “productivity incentives.”
“Aquino’s ‘floor wage’ is more like a ‘basement wage’–it is lower than the present minimum wage,” Tinio explained. “It would spell greater exploitation for labor but, surely, higher profits for the capitalist.”
Tinio, who represents teaching and non-teaching education workers in the Lower House, also criticized Aquino’s Performance-Based Incentive System for state workers. Aquino’s pronouncements related to PBIS indicate that he wants to veer away from across-the-board salary increases and instead give Performance-Based Bonuses (PBB) to purportedly enhance government services. Its implications include, however, a ban on new bonuses or any increase in existing ones. For Department of Education, this also means that the bonus of teachers and other personnel will depend on factors over which they have no control, like drop-out rates.
“We also believe that PBB is designed to pave the way for the relaxation or total abolition of salary standardization for state workers, much like what Aquino has planned for the private sector,” worried Tinio, “especially considering that he is allergic to unions and collective negotiation.”
Since 2012, Aquino removed the budgetary item for incentives and other monetary benefits due under collective negotiation agreements, a move which greatly undermines unions of government employees.
In addition to the demand for salary and wage increases in lieu of these policies, Tinio also urges tax relief to enable workers and employees higher take-home pay. He is author of House Bill 5661 which aims to increase tax exempt bonuses to P60,000 (from P30,000). He also filed HB 6723 which would raise the basic personal exemption to P75,000 and P40,000 per dependent (from P50,000 to P25,000, respectively). ##