/ 25 May 2022

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers called on the Senate to recompense the sacrifices of election workers on May 9, 2022 by hastening the approval of a bill that will scrap the 20 percent tax imposed on election service pay.

The group urged Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto to lead the push for the bill’s passage before the 18th Congress closes on June 3, 2022.

“We can’t afford to delay this any further. Senate owes it to teachers to ensure its immediate legislation. We call on Senator Sotto to prioritize this for the benefit of all election frontliners whose contribution every election season is immeasurable and vital as the country endeavors in this democratic process of electing new leaders,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

“Our election workers cannot wholly feel the state’s recognition of their vital role in the past elections as hefty tax deductions practically eroded the measly raise on election service pay. It is urgent for the Senate to fast-track the legislation that will exempt all previous and future election service pay from taxes because if the 18th Congress fails to do so, we will go back to square one and all our efforts will have been in vain. Remember that the lower house already approved the measure in August of 2021, Senate has been lagging behind and only tackled it at the committee level on April 21, 2022,” he added.

The group has been lobbying for the urgent passing of the measure since the BIR imposed a 5 percent tax on the ‘meagre’ honoraria and allowances of poll workers in 2018.

The tax was raised to 20 percent in 2022.

“Our poll workers yet again delivered exemplary service despite last election’s dirty politicking and the untransparent automated elections system. Our teachers were subjected to harsh conditions and unnecessary hardships, but they fulfilled their duties and went above and beyond to protect the sanctity of our people’s votes. The integrity of this elections may be deemed questionable, but not the integrity of our teacher-poll workers. They deserve to be fully remunerated for their service, without burdensome tax deductions,” Basilio said.