By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — More than a year ahead of the 2022 polls, Senator Win Gatchalian pushes anew for tax exemption on the honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits granted to poll workers, especially the teachers, officials, and personnel of the Department of Education (DepEd).
Senate Bill No. 1193, which Gatchalian filed in 2019, seeks to further amend Section 32 of Republic Act No. 8424 or the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, so that poll workers can receive the full amount of their honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits. The proposed measure also seeks to exclude poll workers’ honoraria and allowances from gross income. A five percent tax is currently imposed on poll workers’ election honoraria.
While teachers and other DepEd personnel are working hard to ensure learning continuity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gatchalian also hailed their roles to ensure smooth, orderly, and credible elections. He added that they bear the brunt of election violence especially in areas considered as high risk. During the 2019 midterm elections, some 531,307 teachers, officials, and personnel were mobilized to 36,830 poll centers.
“Maliban sa pagpapatuloy ng edukasyon sa gitna ng pandemya, ang ating mga guro, opisyal, at kawani ng mga pampublikong paaralan ay nagsisilbing frontliners upang matiyak ang maayos at malinis na halalan. Hindi biro ang trabaho nila mula sa preparasyon hanggang sa bilangan ng mga balota. Kaya maituturing natin itong isang paraan ng pasasalamat para sa kanilang dedikasyon at sakripisyo,” said the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.
Under the Election Service Reform Act (Republic Act No. 10756), the Chairpersons of Electoral Boards are each entitled to receive P6,000. Members of electoral boards receive P5,000 each, Department of Education Supervisor Officials (DESO) receive P4,000 each, while support staff receive P2,000 each.
Gatchalian also pointed out that poll workers’ honoraria and allowances are subject to income tax if their annual taxable income exceeds the P250,000 threshold under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law. Those earning below P250,000 have to submit a declaration of tax exemptions. (AI/MTVN)