By Hannibal C. Talete
On the eve of the celebrations of the World Teachers Day, a teachers’ group appealed to the Commission on Election (Comelec) to reconsider a better compensation package and lighter workload for their colleagues who will be manning the polls in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) on Oct. 25.
Benjo Basas, national chairperson of the 30,000-strong Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC), said they would ask the poll body to give them higher per diem and lesser number of voters per precinct.
“The Comelec will give a total of P1, 500 for every teacher who will sit in the Board of Election Tellers or BET. That’s really unfair,” Basas said citing the Comelec Resolution 9030 or the General instructions for BET and Barangay Board of Canvassers for the upcoming elections.
Basas said that in the Barangay and SK Election in October 2007, Comelec attempted to pay only P1,000 per diem per teacher though its General Instruction says that it must not exceed P2,000. However, teachers refuse to accept the P1,000 payment prompting then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order the Department of Budget and Management to release funds for another P1,000.
“The 2007 experience is a proof that teachers manning the elections deserve more than P1,000 and Comelec must act swiftly on it. This is the best gift the Comelec could give the teachers on this international celebration of Teachers’ Day,” he said.
The group said that teachers must be paid not less than P3, 000 per diem, P500 for sealing of the book of voters and P500 as transportation allowance. As for the non-monetary compensation, Basas said that it was but fair to set aside certain amount for teachers’ insurance and a 5-day leave credit.
In the May 10 automated elections, teachers were paid a total of P4, 800 (per diem of P3, 000, PCOS P500, sealing of the voter’s book P500, transportation allowance of P300 and additional payment amounting to P500).
In a related development, the TDC also questioned the poll body’s statement that the maximum voters for each precinct will be cut to 400 from 1,000 to avoid the long queues that somewhat sabotaged the May 2010 elections.
“Unfortunately, this Barangay and SK Elections will be done manually. So there is no basis for comparison since the 1, 000 maximum voters last May voted in automated manner. Prior to that, the maximum voters do not exceed 200 in any precinct of clustered precinct,” Basas said.