Solon hails signing into law of poll service reform law
Implement higher pay and legal protection for BEIs, COMELEC urged
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio welcomed the signing of Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform ACT (ESRA) by Pres. Aquino last April 8.
Tinio, the principal author of the law, challenged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to immediately implement its provisions on non-compulsory election service for teachers, higher compensation package, improved benefits, and medical and legal assistance for election volunteers.
“This is a historic victory for public school teachers,” said Tinio, who first filed the bill in 2011.
“RA 10756 is dedicated to Filomena Tatlonghari, Nellie Banaag, and other teachers who gave their lives while protecting our votes,” said Tinio, referring to teachers who were killed in while serving as election workers in previous elections. “We successfully pushed for this law also in the name of countless teachers who face tremendous risks in the line of duty every election season.”
RA 10756, with the full title An Act Rendering Election Service Non-Compulsory for Public School Teachers, Authorizing the Appointment of Other Qualified Citizens, Providing for Compensation and Other Benefits, makes election service voluntary for public school teachers and other citizens, assures increased honoraria and allowances for poll workers, and mandates benefits such as medical and legal assistance, among others.
“We now urge COMELEC, DepEd, and other concerned agencies such as the Public Attorney’s Office to implement the law to its fullest extent in time for the 2016 elections, especially the higher compensation and various benefits for our BEIs, Department of Education (DepEd) supervisors, and support staff,” stressed Tinio.
Honoraria for BEI chairpersons and members are now P6,000 and P5,000, respectively (from P3,000 in 2013); P4,000 for DepEd supervisors (from P3,000); and P2,000 for support staff (from P1,500). These poll workers will also be given a travel allowance of P1,000 (from P500). Teachers shall also be entitled to service credits of five days (from three days) while other poll workers shall be granted leave credits of five days.
COMELEC is mandated to give to poll workers their honoraria and allowances not later than 15 days from May 9. Persons responsible for any delayed payment shall be liable for an election offense.
BEIs who died in the performance of election duties shall be granted P500,000 (from P200,000) while those who seek medical attention shall be entitled to such assistance as may be determined by COMELEC as sufficient for medical and hospitalization.
The law also gives poll workers the right to engage government and private lawyers should they be sued in connection to their poll duties, with costs reimbursable from COMELEC.
To guarantee the payment of all these benefits, COMELEC is tasked to establish a trust fund.###