MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday renewed his push for tax exemption on the honoraria, travel allowance, and other benefits granted to poll workers in the upcoming May 2022 elections.
Gatchalian said his proposal is contained in Senate Bill 1193 which he filed in 2019.
The bill 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 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.
“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,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
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 receives P2,000 each.
Gatchalian 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.
In the explanatory note of his bill, the senator stressed that giving poll workers, especially public school teachers, the full amount of their election allowances is “the best way we can show them our gratitude and appreciation for ensuring clean, honest, and orderly elections in the country.”
This will also encourage and reward volunteerism in the country’s election process, he added.