/ 14 April 2022

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers called on the Senate and President Rodrigo Duterte to speed up the approval of bills exempting from taxes the election service pay of teachers.

The group asked the Senate to tackle and approve relevant bills. It prodded Duterte to certify the measure as urgent.

“We are not asking for any special treatment, only for due diligence from senators and the President. This bill has already been approved in the Lower House last August 2021, but Senate hasn’t done its duty to tackle and pass a counterpart measure,” the group said.

“With only 26 days left before the elections, we call on our duly elected public servants to ensure that election frontliners will never again be burdened with hefty taxes on their meagre pay and that the unjust tax deductions on them since 2018 will be refunded,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

On April 2, the group responded to a request from the Senate committee on ways and means for comments on pending Senate bills. It said that election service pay has not been subjected to tax before the 2018 Baranggay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, when a 5 percent tax was imposed on the pay of teachers who rendered poll duty.

ACT has since lobbied against taxing the honoraria and allowances of Board of Election Inspectors, which have resulted in the eventual passing of House Bill 225 principally authored by ACT Teachers Party-list.

“The now 20 percent tax imposition on election service pay must not only be immediately stopped, but all tax collected from the 2018 BSKE and 2019 mid-term polls up to this election season shall also be refunded. This is to bring justice to our teacher-poll workers who voluntarily offer their services as the country partakes in the democratic exercise of electing new leaders. Our BEIs deserve recognition beyond lip-service, their services must be remunerated well and fully without hefty tax deductions,” Basilio said.