SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, chaired by Rep. Sherwin Tugna (Party-list, CIBAC), approved a substitute bill which seeks to reorganize the offices of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to provide adequate and appropriate remuneration to its employees with the ultimate goal of achieving equal pay for equal work in the government service.
The bill substituted House Bills 8111 and 8258, both principally authored by Rep. Francisco Datol, Jr. (Party-list, Senior Citizens). Former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a co-author of the bill.
Datol said the clamor of COMELEC employees for decent salaries has been falling on deaf ears for so long.
“It will be a continuing injustice to allow our nation’s election workers—the backbone of democratic exercise—with salaries that are grossly disproportionate to their roles in government and society,” said Datol.
Datol said for years, the principle of equal pay for equal work and responsibility has not been felt by employees of the Comelec. With more than 5,000 employees nationwide, the Comelec is dominated by the rank and file workers who receive mid- to low-level income, he said.
“Comelec employees are working with a stark difference in salary grades compared to fellow employees with similar qualifications and positions in other government agencies and Constitutional Commissions. This situation moved the employees to organize the Comelec Employees’ Union (COMELEC-EU) in 2012 to actively work for substantial and just salary increases, among other purposes,” said Datol.
He urged Congress to respond to the calls of the COMELEC employees for adequate adjustments in their Salary Grades to insulate them from graft and corruption, as well as to compensate for the risks they encounter time and again, like election-related violence, among others.
The bill provides that it is the responsibility of the State to provide adequate and appropriate compensation to employees with the ultimate goal of achieving equal pay for equal work in government service.
The Comelec shall have the following offices:
1) Regional Election Office, headed by the Regional Election Director and assisted by the Assistant Regional Election Director. It shall also be comprised of a Regional Election Attorney with the rank of Attorney V, Human Resource Management Officer, Budget Officer, Finance Officer, Assistant Election Specialist, Stenographic Reporter III, Process Server, Watchman Officer, Administrative Aide, and Driver, among others;
2) Provincial Election Office, headed by the Provincial Election Director, similar to the rank of Director II regardless of the number of voters. It shall be composed of a Computer Maintenance Technologist/Specialist (CMT/CMS) with Salary Grade-24, Assistant Election Specialist, Administrative Aide, and Driver, among others;
3) Headed and administratively supervised by a District Election Director, the National Capital Region (NCR) Offices, which shall be divided into the North, South, East, Central and Manila Districts, shall also have a CMT/CMS, Administrative Assistant V, Administrative Aide, and Driver, among others;
4) The City/Municipal Office shall be headed by a City/Municipal Election Specialist.
The bill further states that there shall be a minimum of two Assistant Election Specialists (AES) with SG-21 in every city or municipality, provided that for every additional 20,000 voters from 50,000, an additional AES shall be automatically appointed.
Lastly, all the rank and file plantilla positions in the COMELEC main and field offices shall be reclassified and upgraded accordingly by the Commission. | Monel Gonzales