Teachers’ group hopeful for passage of bill exempting poll workers’ pay from tax

Teachers' group hopeful for passage of bill exempting poll workers' pay from tax

MANILA, Philippines — A teachers' group on Monday pressed senators to pass a measure that would exempt poll workers' pay from taxes.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers made the call after the House of Representatives last week approved House Bill 9652 on second reading.

Filed by Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers' Party-list), the bill seeks to amend the National Internal Revenue Code to exclude teachers' election-related honoraria and allowances from tax.

“Public school teachers performing the noble, essential, and often dangerous duties of poll workers deserve to get their compensation in full," said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio, "especially as the coming elections will be held in the midst of a raging pandemic and worsening economic crisis."

The Department of Education in June said the Commission on Elections has agreed to hike poll workers' compensation in the 2022 elections.

Comelec Chairperson Sheriff Abas supported DepEd's proposal for a P3,000-hike in the honoraria.

That would mean honoraria of P9,000 for electoral board heads, P8,000 for members, P7,000 for supervisor officials, and P5,000 for support staff.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian filed a counterpart bill in 2019. Senate Bill 1193, however, remains pending at the committee level based on the chamber's website.

"We call on our duly-elected lawmakers to make this their priority," Basilio added.

ACT said it has also taken steps to approve poll workers' pay raise in the 2022 national budget.

The group called as well to provide health measures for teachers in May next year, such as free COVID-19 testing, hazard pay, and medical services and aid, to name a few.

“The coming elections will be twice as hard as before considering the unabated health crisis," Basilio continued. "Our teachers will be at the frontlines of that, and the least that the government can do is ensure that we are well-protected from all threats and properly compensated."

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