Palace to Comelec: Speed up release of teachers' honoraria

THERE is no reason for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to delay the honoraria of the teachers who served in the midterm elections last Monday as funds are already available, a Palace official said Saturday.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte, in a radio interview over dzRB Radyo ng Bayan, said the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released early this year P960 million for the poll body.

A group of teachers reportedly staged a rally at the Philippine International Convention Center, where the Comelec has been holding the canvassing of votes for the senatorial candidates and the party-list groups, allegedly for non-payment of their services during the election.

Valte said the Comelec should not withhold the payment for the teachers because their budget is already there.

She appealed to the electoral body to immediately pay the teachers of their honoraria.

"We are appealing to the Comelec to help our teachers who worked during the election and to release the small assistance in exchange for the work that they did during the May 13 elections," she said.

The Comelec must give the teachers what they deserve because serving the election is not an easy task and teachers are usually at the frontline during elections, Valte said.

"And they went beyond the call of duty... they really just expect to teach and guide our children but, since that's their additional mandate, they are doing it well," she added.

With regard to some criticisms on the conduct of the May 13 polls, Valte said President Benigno Aquino III was not distracted by negative comments and he will remain focused on addressing the needs of the people and will continue to push his reform agenda.

Although there are people criticizing the conduct of the polls last week, Valte said there is a group of foreign observers who noted improvements in the conduct of the May 13 election compared to the elections in 2007 and 2010.

She expressed hope that the Comelec will address all these issues that are being raised about the conduct of the elections.

"And whatever happened in the past elections will certainly be taken into consideration by these institutions on how situations can be improved in coming elections," she said. (SDR/Sunnex)
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