By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Thousands of Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) from at least 16 regions, including the National Capital Region, have yet to receive their honoraria and allowances almost two weeks after carrying out their duty on May 9 national elections.
On May 19, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) led teachers who served as BEIs and support staff in a protest at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was holding the canvassing of votes. They demanded the immediate release of compensation for each teacher, worth P4,000 ($85) in honorarium and P500 ($11) for transportation allowance.
“The election is over, but teachers who served as BEIs and support staff remain unpaid their corresponding honorarium. The BEIs risked their lives, carried an extraordinary task and they sacrificed a lot, especially when the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) malfunctioned, just to make sure that there will be a clean, honest, orderly and peaceful elections,” said Benjamin Valbuena, ACT national chairperson.
Valbuena said Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) compensation must be given directly to the BEIs, the Department of Education supervisors and other support staffs within 15 days after the election. Although only 10 days have passed after the election, Valbuena asserted that the teachers deserve to be paid on time considering the nature of election in the Philippines.
“It is just and proper for the Commission of Election and Department of Education to perform their obligation to the teachers who served during the election by immediately giving them their compensation for a job well done,” said Valbuena.
ACT said teachers from different regions complained that the ATM cards and cash cards issued to them still have no funds “leaving them only with promises that funds were deposited.”
Valbuena lamented that many teachers went tired and hungry, as not everyone were given meals and transportation services. He added that the Comelec have proclaimed winners in the senatorial and partylist posts but the teachers remain unpaid. “This is too much injustice,” Valbuena said adding that the same incident happened during the 2013 election.
“We reiterate our demand; the immediate release of the election compensation which includes the honorarium and per diem. We did our job! We did it well, and the Aquino government should do the same,” Valbuena said.