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Sara Duterte to Comelec: Give teachers advance pay for election duties

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte on Thursday appealed to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to provide in advance the honoraria for teachers who will render services for the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE).

Speaking during the second day of the 2023 National Election Summit, Duterte said that paying the teachers first before the elections would help with their expenses.

“Baka naman, sa amin lang Comelec, from the Department of Education, mauna ‘yung bayad sa mga teachers namin bago ang election. Of course, bumabyahe sila, kumakain sila, and may gastusin din sila during the days na they are serving our country as part of the Boards,” she said.

(For us in DepEd, we hope that our teachers will be paid first before the election. Of course, they travel, they eat, and they also have expenses during the days that they are serving our country as part of the Boards.)

“Baka lang pwedeng i-advance ‘yung [payment], or it can be a consideration for the plan for future elections na mauna ‘yung payments or ‘yung compensation para sa ating mga teachers,” she added.

(I hope the compensation of teachers will be given advance, or it can be considered for the plans for the future elections.)

In response, Comelec chairman George Garcia said that while this is possible, the decision would still be up to the Commission on Audit (COA).

“It’s possible. We could do that. As to whether ito ay babalewalain ng Commission on Audit, ang tawag ay magkakaron ng [COA would ignore that and give] notice of disallowance, that is a different board game altogether. As part as the Comelec is concerned, we can always do anything para lang sa ikabubuti ng ating mga guro [for the welfare of the teachers],” he said at a press conference.

Garcia recalled that before, they had already tried giving teachers 50% of their honoraria before the conduct of the elections. However, COA flagged them after many teachers did not proceed in rendering service during the actual election day.

“Kapag nagkaganon, kailangan ibalik ‘yung lahat na nai-advance na. Alam niyo naman sa pamahalaan, lalo na sa isyu ng budgeting at accounting, mukhang hindi bastang basta pinapayagan ang advance payment sa mga services. Dapat maglingkod muna pagkatapos saka ‘yung bayad,” he added.

(When that happens, all the money that has been given in advance must be returned. In the government, especially in the issue of budgeting and accounting, it seems that advance payment for services is not easily allowed. You must render service first and then the payment comes after.)

In January, Garcia said the poll body will still ask Congress to allocate supplemental budget to increase the honoraria for teachers who will serve during the BSKE on October 30.

Voter’s education

Additionally, Duterte said she is open to the possibility of including voter’s education to the K to 12 curriculum of the Department of Education (DepEd).

“I welcome the integration of voter’s education in our K-12 program to help prepare and equip our Filipino youth with the ability to discern and engage responsibly in this democratic process,” she said.

“By instituting civic education in youth and nation-building, we encourage the involvement of an empowered citizenry guided by Filipino values, discernment, and knowledge that are crucial in cultivating a culture of participative democracy.”

Garcia said that among the agenda of the summit is to push for the integration of the voter’s education in the present curriculum.

“Sana man lang, kahit papano, nagsisimula pa lang kahit sa kinder. Hindi naman direct sasabihin na bawal mong iboto ito, hindi naman boboto ang mga bata. Pero at least man lang, naituturo kaagad sa kanila ‘yung kasamaan ng pagbebenta ng boto, ‘yung tamang pagpili ng isang tunay na leader kahit sa loob ng classroom,” he said.

(I hope, at least, it starts at a kindergarten level. It will not directly say that children should not vote for someone. It will teach them the cons of selling votes, and how to choose the right leaders even in a classroom setting.)—LDF, GMA Integrated News