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Comelec: Lack of budget, COA rules block OT pay for teachers who worked during BSKE 2023

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) cannot provide overtime pay for teachers who worked for more than 24 hours during the 2023 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) due to existing Commission on Audit (COA) rules and lack of budget for it.

This was explained by Comelec chairperson George Garcia after the Teachers Dignity Coalition formally asked the poll body to provide funding 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.

In a virtual interview with reporters, Garcia shared that they encountered the same appeal from the teachers in 2022 but they were not able to grant it for the same reasons.

In a letter dated October 31 by TDC National chairperson Benjo Basas addressed to Garcia, the teachers’ group urged the poll body to pass a Comelec resolution or any official document that would endorse to the proper agencies the provision of 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. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News