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Additional honorarium for poll workers urged

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A top official of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday has recommended granting additional honorarium to poll workers who rendered extended election service due to defective or corrupted SD cards and malfunctioned vote-counting machines (VCMs).

In a memorandum dated 13 May, addressed to the Comelec En Banc by Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said the technical difficulties and problems with SD cards and VCMs had forced thousands of teachers to render poll service beyond their duty hours.

He also said that voting took nearly 24 hours in some precincts, where aside from their extended service, they had also to allay the anxiety and fears of teachers who complained about queueing for long hours to cast their votes in the polling precincts, which also similar to the incidents during the 2019 polls, that resulted to the grant of additional honorarium to poll workers.

Garcia said that the poll body must ensure that the poll workers are fairly compensated.

“The teachers’ loss of time to rest and be with their families, as well as their loss of opportunity to find other sources of income must be considered. As our partner during elections, we must ensure that the teachers and support staff, whose sacrifices during election day are unparalleled, are fairly compensated for the work done,” Garcia said in a memorandum.

On Thursday, Comelec Acting Spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco clarified that the poll body has not yet approved such proposals, but he said on Monday that the poll workers would receive an additional honorarium.

He also stressed that the poll body is not allowed to give overtime pay under the rules of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

During the election day, there are at least 1,800 VCMs and SD cards were found defective.

Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said on Monday that it will be the last time that the poll body will use the existing VCMs, saying that they will insist they will not use the existing VCM in the 2025 polls despite the possibility of a small budget allocation.

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