/ 28 January 2022

ACT TEACHERS Partylist Representative France Castro on Thursday urged fellow lawmakers in the Senate to swiftly pass the Senate counterpart bills of the approved House measure that will exempt poll workers’ pay from taxes.

“The 2022 elections are drawing near, our public school teachers are urgently clamoring to the Senate to pass its counterpart bills exempting from taxes all amounts granted to persons rendering election service for local and national elections,” Castro said.

“Election service volunteers are composed mostly of public school teachers. With the additional risk and longer hours of poll service that they will have to endure due to the Covid19 pandemic, removing the 5 percent tax on their honoraria and allowances is only just. We urge our fellow lawmakers in the Senate to swiftly pass counterpart bills on this measure,” she added.

House Bill 9652 or An Act Exempting from Income Taxation the Honoraria, Allowances and Other Financial Benefits of Persons Rendering Service During an Election Period, Amending for the Purpose Sec. 32B of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 was passed on 3rd and final reading last August 23, 2021 and was transmitted to the Senate the following day.

Senate Bill 1193 is a counterpart bill filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian.

Castro said imposing tax on the honoraria and allowances of election service volunteers destroys the spirit and intent of the Election Service Reform Act, which is to compensate the hardships of persons rendering election service.

“Allowances received by election service volunteer workers are mere reimbursements for the expenses incurred by poll workers. Imposing a 5% tax on these allowances is simply not right,” Castro said.

She added that the honoraria are not even enough to compensate for the service and sacrifices they endure just to be able to serve in the elections.

“Teachers deserve to receive the full amount of the honorarium after undertaking their high-risk job as poll workers. They are required to attend training, deliver the election paraphernalia to and from Comelec offices and precincts, and perform other election-related tasks,” Castro added.