House okays compulsory insurance for election workers

IN recognition of the role of the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI), Special Board of Election Inspectors (SBEI), the Board of Election Tellers (BET) and their support staff for every national and local election, the House of Representatives has approved on third reading a bill providing them compulsory insurance coverage.

The approved measure, House Bill 6528, substituted House Bill 3710 authored by Reps. Juliet Cortuna (Party-list, A-Teacher), Mariano Piamonte (Party-list, A-Teacher), Antonio Tinio (Party-list, Act Teachers) and Andres Salvacion, Jr. (3rd District, Leyte).

The bill’s plenary approval was endorsed by the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms chaired by Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. (Lone District, City of Dasmariñas).

“Members of the BEI play a very big and significant role at ensuring the public has a clean and honest election. History has shown us that numerous election related violence was committed against the lives of these humble public servants,” Cortuna said.

Cortuna said BEIs should not just be a part of statistics. Laws should be promulgated to protect their future.

Under the proposed “Election Officer/Staff Insurance Act of 2012,” the insurance coverage shall commence from the time the insured is exposed to any election-related risk.

However, the bill states that the coverage shall not be limited to the acquisition of election paraphernalia and it shall be terminated upon proper turn-over of the same to the appropriate receiving officer or until any election-related risks are no longer present.

The bill mandates that the death benefits shall include the awarding of P200,000 to the beneficiaries on the first year of implementation of the proposed law and the insurance coverage shall also include hospitalization and medical expenses of the injured beneficiary until his/her recovery notwithstanding benefits provided for by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) or any institution granting the same to the insured.

The measure also provides that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) shall pay the corresponding premium to be determined by the GSIS.

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