By PAULINE GIDGET R. ESTELLA
MANILA — During the May 10 elections, teachers had to stretch working hours and entertain kilometric queues in the suffocating heat. Some had to put a leg down the grave. The pay is always too measly and too late, and the government seems to ignore the sacrifices made by the “heroes” who had to cope with the Comelec’s lack of preparations for the first automated elections.
Teachers from Cembo Elementary School in Makati City are having difficulty making the PCOS machine print a complete initialization report during the final testing and sealing on May 3. (Photo by Tudla Productions / bulatlat.com)
According to ACT Teachers Partylist, they have received reports from many teachers, who performed as Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs), that they have not been paid for the services they rendered for the elections. Under the Omnibus Election Code, ratified in 1985, public school teachers are required to serve as BEIs in the municipalities where they are assigned.
“We’ve received reports that teachers in Manila, Malabon, Navotas, as well as in Baguio, Mindoro, Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, and Siquijor have not yet received their election service honoraria,” said ACT Teachers national president and first nominee Antonio Tinio.
“Considering the sacrifices they’ve made, the least the government can do is to ensure prompt payment. Unfortunately, this is not the case in many places nationwide,” Tinio added.
The teachers will receive an election pay amounting to P6,300 ($140), consisting of P3,000 as honorarium; P2,000 as training allowance; P300 for transportation; P500 for sealing the book of voters and P500 for the testing of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines.
The election pay is more than thrice the amount given in previous elections.
However, for ACT Teachers, the government should still increase the teachers’ pay by P2,000 ($44.44).
Teachers during the final testing and sealing (FTS) in Marikina City on May 6. (Photo by Tudla Productions / bulatlat.com)
“The government should provide [the teachers] an additional P2,000 ($44.44) in recognition of the sacrifices they have made to ensure the success of the country’s first automated elections,” said Tinio in a May 12 statement.
Tinio said that the additional pay is justified because teachers had to put in extra days of work as a result of the massive recall of wrongly configured compact flash cards and retesting of PCOS machines in the days leading up to election day.
Tinio said, “Not to mention the extension of voting hours by one hour and the difficult work they had to put in on election day as a result of the clustering of precincts, where you had 3 BEIs attending to up to 1,000 voters.”