TEACHERS will certainly welcome the news on the possible increase in poll duty pay from P4,000 to P6,000.

But that’s how it is for now, still a proposal articulated by teachers’ groups to Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. during a hearing of the Senate Committee on Local Government on Wednesday.

Accordingly, the money could be sourced either from the savings of the Comelec or from the additional P4.1 billion budget released by the Department of Budget and Management to augment the Comelec’s budget for the synchronized elections in May.

Marcos urged the Comelec to release the teachers’ honorarium before elections, but there is a need to consider the possibility that some teachers might fail to report on election day, thereby posing some problems in accounting and auditing and, worse, putting the election process in possible jeopardy because of voter disenfranchisement.

The senator might have thought it wise to make the call for release of honorarium prior to election day as Comelec over the years has consistently failed to pay the teachers on time.

For instance, in the 2010 elections, the Comelec did not comply with its agreement with the Department of Education that half of the payment will be released to teachers once they get the election materials and the other half upon the retrieval of ballot boxes.

Public school teachers have served as the Board of Election Inspectors during elections, as mandated by RA 6646 or the Electoral Reforms Law of 1987.

A number of legislators, such as Senator Manny Villar, have filed bills amending the provision on public school teachers’ mandatory election duty by |giving them the freedom to choose whether or not they want to fulfill their roles in the BEI…as they are already burdened by the responsibility of providing quality education to the youth, in the face of low pay and difficult working conditions.”

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