The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) announced on Thursday that teachers serving as poll workers will receive tax-free honoraria. Moreover, unlike in previous years, they will be paid in cash instead of through cash cards.
General elections in the Philippines happen regularly every 3 years. During elections, whether general or local, public school teachers are tapped as poll workers – and this makes sense, particularly because elections are held in public schools.
While teachers are not required to serve during elections, those who serve as Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) get extra money for their time and efforts.
Photo credit: ABS-CBN News
How Much to Expect
The honoraria are as follows, based on the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) or Republic Act 10756:
- Chairperson of the Electoral Boards – Php6,000
- Members of Electoral Boards – Php5,000
- Department of Education Supervisor Official (DESO) – Php4,000
- Support Staff – Php2,000
According to the COMELEC, they are committed to paying those who render services as poll workers in the upcoming elections based on what is mandated by ESRA. Teachers are assured of tax-free honoraria – but there’s a catch.
To be eligible for the tax-free honoraria, teachers and other poll workers should file a prescribed sworn declaration of having an annual income threshold of Php250,000 before the COMELEC.
Considering that a Teacher I has a basic monthly salary of Php20,754, the lowest gross salary a teacher gets in a year amounts to at least Php290,556 [Php20,754 x 14], including the mid-year and year-end bonuses. The amount is certainly much more than the annual income threshold stated above.
This means that teachers will still be taxed the rate of 5% for the honoraria they will receive as poll workers.
Photo credit: Sun Star PH
Honoraria in Cash
Although most teachers are likely to feel dismayed that their honoraria as poll watchers will be taxed, one positive note is that it will be paid in cash.
“The honorarium will be paid in cash and no longer through cash cards,” said COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez.
The poll body’s Finance Department has released the corresponding amount for each city and municipality to their Election Officers, assured COMELEC Project Management Office (PMO) Deputy Project Director Teopisto Elnas.