Comelec: Poll teachers can’t claim OT due to COA regulations, lack of budget

FILE:  Voters are instructed to feed their ballot to the vote counting machine at the Pasong Tamo Elementary School, one of the few automated polling centers during the BSKE 2023 on Monday, 30 October 2023. Photo by Yummie Dingding
FILE: Voters are instructed to feed their ballot to the vote counting machine at the Pasong Tamo Elementary School, one of the few automated polling centers during the BSKE 2023 on Monday, 30 October 2023. Photo by Yummie Dingding

The Commission on Elections said on Thursday that the agency cannot provide overtime pay for teachers who served on the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections for more than 24 hours due to existing Commission on Audit rules and the lack of funding for it.

This was confirmed by Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia after the Teachers Dignity Coalition formally asked the poll body to provide fund requirements for the poll workers' overtime pay.

"In as much as we would like to give, however, there is this joint COA- DBM circular which provides that only employees of an agency [are] entitled to claim overtime [pay]. The teachers who served as electoral board members are not employees of Comelec," Garcia said in a Viber message to reporters on Thursday.

"Moreover, the budget provided us did not provide for such an item," he added.

Garcia said in an interview that the Comelec encountered the same appeal from the teachers in 2022, but they were unable to approve the appeal for the same reasons.

TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas wrote a letter to Garcia on 31 October in which the teachers' group asked the poll body to pass a Comelec resolution or any official document that would authorize the right agencies to provide overtime pay for teachers.

"Previously, the honoraria for members of the [Electoral Board] were stated as per diem and computed based on three days or twenty-four hours of continuous work (as BEI or BET, particularly in manual elections). Still, many of our DepEd employees work beyond 24 hours and are thus entitled to overtime pay," the group said.

"In previous elections, the Comelec has granted the same request. Even in the 2022 NLE, the Comelec allocated overtime pay due to delays. This is also consistent with the policy of additional compensation for EBs assigned to precincts conducting a pilot test of early voting for the vulnerable sectors. Specifically, we would like to request for a Comelec Resolution or any sort of official document endorsing the same to the respective agencies," the TDC said

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