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Solon hails signing into law of poll service reform law
Implement higher pay and legal protection for BEIs, COMELEC urged
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio welcomed the signing of Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform ACT (ESRA) by Pres. Aquino last April 8.
Tinio, the principal author of the law, challenged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to immediately implement its provisions on non-compulsory election service for teachers, higher compensation package, improved benefits, and medical and legal assistance for election volunteers.
“This is a historic victory for public school teachers,” said Tinio, who first filed the bill in 2011.
“RA 10756 is dedicated to Filomena Tatlonghari, Nellie Banaag, and other teachers who gave their lives while protecting our votes,” said Tinio, referring to teachers who were killed in while serving as election workers in previous elections. “We successfully pushed for this law also in the name of countless teachers who face tremendous risks in the line of duty every election season.”
RA 10756, with the full title An Act Rendering Election Service Non-Compulsory for Public School Teachers, Authorizing the Appointment of Other Qualified Citizens, Providing for Compensation and Other Benefits, makes election service voluntary for public school teachers and other citizens, assures increased honoraria and allowances for poll workers, and mandates benefits such as medical and legal assistance, among others.
“We now urge COMELEC, DepEd, and other concerned agencies such as the Public Attorney’s Office to implement the law to its fullest extent in time for the 2016 elections, especially the higher compensation and various benefits for our BEIs, Department of Education (DepEd) supervisors, and support staff,” stressed Tinio.
Honoraria for BEI chairpersons and members are now P6,000 and P5,000, respectively (from P3,000 in 2013); P4,000 for DepEd supervisors (from P3,000); and P2,000 for support staff (from P1,500). These poll workers will also be given a travel allowance of P1,000 (from P500). Teachers shall also be entitled to service credits of five days (from three days) while other poll workers shall be granted leave credits of five days.
COMELEC is mandated to give to poll workers their honoraria and allowances not later than 15 days from May 9. Persons responsible for any delayed payment shall be liable for an election offense.
BEIs who died in the performance of election duties shall be granted P500,000 (from P200,000) while those who seek medical attention shall be entitled to such assistance as may be determined by COMELEC as sufficient for medical and hospitalization.
The law also gives poll workers the right to engage government and private lawyers should they be sued in connection to their poll duties, with costs reimbursable from COMELEC.
To guarantee the payment of all these benefits, COMELEC is tasked to establish a trust fund.###
4 February 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)
Tinio blasts Trillanes for failure to pass pay hike bill as Congress goes on break
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio is laying the blame squarely on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for the failure of Congress to pass the proposed law granting a new round of salary increases for state workers before it went on a four-month long recess yesterday.
Tinio blasted Trillanes for leaving the country in the midst of a deadlock between the chambers of Congress on the final version of the pay hike bill and as the legislature was counting down the days before going on an extended break due to the upcoming national and local elections.
Trillanes reportedly left for the United States “on official mission” last week.
Tinio pointed out that Trillanes is the chairperson of the Senate Civil Service Committee in charge of the proposed new Salary Standardization Law (SSL 4), and as such, headed the Senate delegation to the Bicameral Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
“What sort of elected official goes on a trip abroad in the middle of contentious bicameral talks, making it virtually impossible for Congress to pass the bill before the recess? This is gross dereliction of duty on his part. His twisted priorities and self-indulgence means that 1.5 million government employees will not receive the salary hikes and bonuses that they desperately need,” said Tinio. “SSL 4 would have provided pay hikes from January onwards. As it stands, Congress can only work on final approval of SSL 4 when it resumes session on May 23. In the meantime, public sector employees get nothing, thanks to the good Senator.”
The bicameral conference between the two chambers of Congress was deadlocked after the Senate panel led by Trillanes insisted on a provision that would index the pension of military retirees to the salary increases provided in SSL 4. The House panel objected because of lack of funding. The Senate proposal would cost taxpayers an additional P18 billion for the first year of implementation. “The responsible thing to do would have been to settle the issue before leaving. But as far as Senator Trillanes is concerned, it appears that a so-called ‘international forum’ in the United States is more important than addressing the day-to-day needs of the country’s civil servants, who last received a salary adjustment in 2012.”
Tinio noted that P58 billion has been set aside in the 2016 national budget for salary increases and bonuses and incentives of the country’s 1.5 million government employees. However, the increases cannot be implemented without the enactment of SSL 4.
Tinio also criticized Senate President Franklin Drilon for authorizing Trillanes’ departure and failing to resolve the impasse before the recess. “Is the Senate a collegial body where rule by majority prevails, or is it an exclusive club where the welfare of millions of Filipinos can be held hostage by the whims of one Senator?” ###