Teachers’ sacrifices-A A +A
By DP Limlingan
Thursday, January 17, 2013
CONGRESSMAN Antonio Tinio has amplified the call of some 240,000 teachers who will be tapped to serve on the elections this May, for an increase in their election day allowance from P4,000 to P6,000.
According to Tinio, who represents the Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list, teachers’ election pay remains the same since the polls in 2004 despite occasional inflations and the rising cost of living of Filipinos.
To respond to their call, the government needs an additional P480 million for the P2,000 increase in their election pay.
While we have modernized the electoral process in the country through the automation of the voting and counting processes in the past, we have not modernized the salary of teachers, including their monetary allowances during elections.
Teachers are among those Filipinos who work hard to earn but oftentimes have a hard time making both ends meet for their families. There are many who even use their salaries to buy chalks or make classroom repairs using their own resources. There are those who have to sacrifice many things such as their time for their families, for their rest and for their leisure to meet the demands of their profession.
During elections, teachers experience sleepless nights, hunger, fatigue and sometimes harassments from candidates who malign and look down on teachers. There are teachers who are made victims of violence in hot spot areas or areas of concern.
There are a number of teachers who died while on election duty due to election–related violence in the past. The risk of getting hurt or killed during the elections is quite high, such as in far-flung places in the southern parts of the country where extremist armed groups sow terror.
In areas where elections are as hot as the weather during summer, some teachers are even subjected to administrative or legal cases as they are sometimes implicated by some sore losers in alleged unfair election practices.
Serving the elections entails a lot of sacrifice for our educators. They are the frontliners during the day and forgotten heroes after the winning candidates have been proclaimed.
The role of teachers during election day is very important as they serve most of the electoral processes before the sun rises and up to midnight. Fortunately, we have automated our elections now which excuse our teachers from the tedious process of manually counting votes and tallying them. This however doesn’t mean that our teachers have lesser responsibilities.
Election precincts are now clustered, making the number of voters multiplied into four prior to the automation of our elections. Teachers now cater to more number of electorates despite the fact that the process of voting and the counting of votes now uses a computer better known as the Precinct Count Optical Scan or PCOS.
I had served too several elections and saw how our teachers devote themselves to the democratic process of choosing our leaders.
With the sacrifices and workload of teachers during the elections, I find it proper and fitting that they be given the raise for their election pay. They deserve a little consolation in responding to the call beyond their duty inside classrooms. Teachers’ sacrifices need to be compensated well. The Comelec and the Department of Education should find means on how to look for resources to rationalize teachers’ pleas for some additional allowances.
Politicians, like Congressman Tinio, should likewise look for solutions to provide for the needs of our teachers. Like the proclaimed winners, teachers should be happy too after the polls.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 18, 2013.