MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is looking to increase the honorarium given to poll workers, most of them teachers, who are serving in the country's elections.
"We can just increase, for example, the allowance or honoraria that we give them, especially if we have a budget for that. Instead of the excess budget being used for whatever purpose, we will just give them to teachers or other workers that serve during elections," Comelec chairperson George Erwin Garcia said in a Laging Handa briefing.
Garcia said another option is to increase the honorarium for workers undergoing poll duty training.
"Kung sakali, 'yung mismong itinaas namin na honorarium ay kakaltasan ng buwis, intact pa rin 'yung mismong honorarium na tinatanggap at dapat tanggapin nila sa kasalukuyan (If that happens, even if taxes are deducted from the increased honorarium, the honorarium that they will get at this time will still be intact)," he added.
Garcia said this is part of their efforts to recognize the vital role of poll workers amid President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s decision to veto the bill seeking to exempt the honorarium of these workers from taxes.
"We respect that (veto). It is the power of the President. We at the Comelec now have an obligation to uphold the welfare of our poll workers," he said.
Meanwhile, the poll body is looking to resume the issuance of Voter's Certification soon after it was suspended due to the fire that gutted a portion of its main office in Manila over the weekend.
"We have already given a directive for the resumption and issuance of the voter's certification. Hopefully, if not tomorrow (Friday), by Monday, we can already start issuing certificates of voter registration," Garcia said.
He said he wants to immediately resume the issuance of Voter's Certification for Filipinos who are traveling overseas.
"We understand that after we suspended the issuance, many of our overseas Filipino workers weren't able to apply or renew their passports because of it," he said.
Since August 1, the Comelec has suspended the issuance of voter's certification at its National Central File Division due to the fire at the Palacio del Gobernador Building on July 31.
The Comelec had advised the public to process their requests with the Office of the Election Officer in their respective district/city/municipality.
Voter's certification is a document that can serve as a temporary voter's ID card which can be secured upon the request of the registered voter and payment of a fee. It is valid for one year from the date of issuance. (PNA)