Militant teachers scored President Benigno Aquino III Friday for his inaction on a request for added compensation of teachers who will serve as board of election tellers for Monday's barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said their demand for added compensation is justified by the risks involved in doing poll duty.
"(With the elections nearing), the President has not heeded our demands for increased and just compensation for the additional and dangerous work that we will render as board of election tellers (BETs) ... Teachers are prone to harassment and acts of violence from political rivals or losing candidates," ACT secretary general France Castro said on the group's website.
She said at least two teachers had been killed in the line of duty while serving as tellers in past elections.
In 2007, Nellie Banag of Batangas died after masked gunmen set on fire the schoolhouse she was serving in, she said.
In 1995, teacher Filomena Tatlonghari was killed for refusing to give a ballot box to armed men while on election duty, she added.
"Such dangers are faced by teachers to protect the sanctity of the ballots and the Aquino government is inconsiderate for not recognizing the noble service that teachers render every election," Castro said.
ACT had sought an increase of the compensation of teachers who will serve as BET to P4,000 (P2,000 per day) as against the P2,000 (P1,000 per day) the government is giving.
Another teachers' group earlier made a similar last-minute appeal to Aquino for at least additional compensation.
The Teachers' Dignity Coalition (TDC) lamented the Comelec had been "consistent" in claiming an additional budget is beyond its powers.
"Hence, we would like to directly appeal to the president of the Philippines to grant the request of public school teachers ... This request is based on moral and technical precedence. Thus, we anticipate the president’s most favorable consideration," it said in its website.
According to the TDC, public school teachers are requesting:
# Increase of per diem from P1,000.00 to P1,500.00 (or P3,000.00 for two days);
# An increase from P500 to P1000 per SK precinct; and
# Provision of P500 transportation allowance for all DepEd personnel involved in the elections.
The TDC also reiterated the election duties of public school teachers should not be made compulsory.
Because of this, it said its members are serving as poll workers "with high reservation."
Last October 12, the TDC and ACT met with some officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) and Comelec for the Oct. 25 polls.
During the meeting, the TDC presented its request for additional compensation, lesser workload and assurance of protection, both legal and physical.
"Despite the assurance that both agencies will do something to ensure teachers’ safety and protection, it is very unfortunate that the compensation for teachers will remain very minimal at a total of P2, 000.00 (and additional P500.00 for precinct with SK)," it said.
"The issue here does not revolve in payment, but in our teachers’ supposed honor- the dignity of teaching profession. Is this how the Comelec and the government appraise the worth of teachers’ sacrifices- risk to life and limb, physical and mental exhaustion?" it added.
TDC said this coming election has the lowest compensation package compared to the recent elections from the year 2007.
In the Barangay and SK Elections of 2007, it noted teachers were paid a total of P2,500.00.
Also, TDC said this is the first time that the Comelec would not give teachers transportation allowance. It said teachers were given P500 transportation allowance for May 2007 and October 2007 national and local elections and Barangay and SK elections, respectively.
"In May 2010 elections, we were given a total compensation of P4,800.00 (P3,500.00 honorarium, P300.00 transportation allowance, P500.00 for sealing and testing of PCOS machine and P500.00 for sealing of book of voters," TDC said.
"This is the payment the Comelec will reward the teachers’ election work, despite the increase in the number of voters per clustered precinct from maximum of 200 to maximum of 400 which means a 100% increase in tasks," it added. — LBG, GMANews.TV