Briones appeals: No tax, more poll benefits

May 3, 2018

PASIG CITY, May 3, 2018 – Seeking better compensation and protection for teachers who will choose to serve in the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14, Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones iterated her petition to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the exemption from the imposition of withholding tax on their honoraria.

In April, the Education chief appealed to Comelec that teachers who opt to render their time, energy, and safety to ensure the integrity of the ballot must not be encumbered by such toll on their meager allowance.

“Prior to the effectivity of ESRA, no poll honoraria were ever subjected to income tax. Now that ESRA has improved the compensation package of our volunteer-teachers, it is only fitting that they truly benefit from their hard-earned compensation,” Briones pointed out.

ESRA, or the Election Service Reform Act (R.A. 10756), currently provides for higher honoraria, additional travel allowance, service credits, legal indemnification package, medical assistance, and death benefit for teachers and personnel who will volunteer poll services.

The Secretary further requested Comelec to permit the designation of authorized disbursing officer who will be allowed to draw cash advance for medical expenses of teachers who will serve in the Electoral Boards. If granted, this will replace the common practice of medical reimbursements and help teachers who may need immediate hospital treatment and/or admission.

On top of the five days service credit mandated by ESRA in view of the manual conduct of elections, Briones also called for the grant of additional two days service credits.

Reaffirming her earlier appeal to Comelec, the Secretary stated, “DepEd teachers and personnel have long been at the forefront of every electoral exercise in the country; with their immense experience in carrying out this enormous task in clustered precincts of huge populations, we deem that evaluation and discussion on the possible increase in honoraria and allowance are just and necessary.”


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