Re-electionist Senator Win Gatchalian vows to pursue the enactment of his bill that will grant tax exemption on the honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits of poll workers, including teachers, officials, and personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd).
The election honoraria and allowances of poll workers, including public school teachers, have never been subjected to tax until the 2018 Barangay and SK Elections and the 2019 midterm elections when the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) imposed a 5 percent withholding tax on their honoraria. But for the upcoming 2022 national elections, the BIR is imposing a 20% withholding tax on the honorarium and travel allowance that poll workers will receive. Over 300,000 teachers will serve in the electoral boards on election day.
Poll workers’ election honoraria remain subject to income tax if their annual taxable income exceeds the P250,000 threshold under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN Law. Those earning P250,000 a year had to submit a declaration of tax exemptions, a process that adds burden to poll workers according to Gatchalian.
In 2019, Gatchalian filed Senate Bill No.1193 so that poll workers can receive the full amount of their honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits.
In filing the proposed measure, Gatchalian acknowledged the hard work, resourcefulness, and perseverance of teachers who render more than 24 hours of continuous service to finish the transmission of results. For the lawmaker, giving poll workers the full amount of their election honoraria and allowances is the best way to show gratitude and appreciation for ensuring clean, honest, and orderly elections in the country.
In November 2021, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) issued a resolution which provides the honoraria rates for poll workers. The Chairperson of the electoral board will receive P7,000. Members of electoral boards will receive P6,000, DepEd Supervisor Officials (DESO) will receive P5,000, support staff and medical personnel will receive P3,000.
Poll workers will also get P2,000 transportation allowance, P1,500 communication allowance, and P500 anti-COVID allowance, medical and accident insurance.
“Patuloy nating isusulong na maibigay nang buo ang sahod at mga benepisyo ng ating mga guro sa panahon ng halalan. Ito pa rin ang pinakamagandang paraan upang pasalamatan sila sa kanilang malaking sakripisyo upang tiyakin ang kaayusan ng ating eleksyon at pangalagaan ang demokrasya ng ating bansa,” said Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.