Bongbong Marcos eyes ‘ayuda’ to election workers, instead of tax breaks

President Bongbong Marcos defended his veto of the honoraria tax exemption bill for poll workers, vowing instead to give
Teachers and volunteers prepare the voting precent for the national election, in Magarao, Camarines Sur, Philippines, May 9, 2022. President Bongbong Marcos defended his veto of the honoraria tax exemption bill for poll workers, vowing instead to give "ayuda" (financial aid) for poll workers. (REUTERS/Lisa Marie David)

Instead of tax breaks to the poll workers’ honoraria, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said his administration is eyeing on giving them additional benefits through financial assistance in future elections.

Babalikan natin sila pagka nagka-eleksyon. Titingnan natin kung sino talaga ang nagtrabaho, ilang oras, ilang araw sila nagtrabaho dito, ano ang kanilang posisyon, sila’y nag-aano dun sa makina, whatever it is, and then dun tayo magdadagdag ng ayuda,” he said.

(We will get back to them in the elections. We will see who truly rendered their work, how many days or hours they worked, what their positions are, what they did, and then we will compensate them.)

The president said that this move is more doable since there is already a process in place to distribute financial aid, and it could be much easier with the distribution of the national identification cards.

Sasabihin na lang natin, ‘Okay isama natin dun sa mga magiging beneficiary ang mga election workers,’” Marcos said, adding that the process for this could be the same as the distribution of oil subsidy to public utility vehicle drivers. “Yun ang gagawin namin para mas maging maayos ang pagbibigay.

(We will say, ‘Okay, let’s include the election workers as beneficiaries’. That’s what we’ll do to ensure the process is smooth sailing.)

On Saturday (July 30), Malacañang announced that Marcos has vetoed the proposed bill, saying that it would be “inequitable to other persons performing similar activities or services” and would run counter to the government’s tax program “to correct the inequity in the country’s tax system and negate the progressivity of the reforms introduced” by TRAIN law.

Teachers’ group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines called it a “slap in the face of every teacher.”

"Bakit kinokomplika nila ang sistema, bigay-bawi. Ang kailangan ng poll workers ay dagdagan ang mababang election service honoraria at allowances at tanggalin ang buwis dahil dati namang walang buwis ito. Ganito ang karapat-dapat na pagkilala sa mahalagang serbisyo ng mga guro sa pagprotekta ng karapatan ng mamamayan sa halalan," Vladimer Quetua, ACT Philippines’ chairperson, said in a statement.

(Why are they complicating the system? What poll workers need is additional funds for their election service honoraria and allowances, and remove the tax because this is not being taxed before. This is the proper recognition of the important service teachers do in protecting the people’s rights every election.)

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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