Month: February 2016

Bam: Increased Benefits for Public School Teachers During Elections Nears Law

Election service benefits will soon increase for public school teachers once the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) principally authored by Sen. Bam Aquino is signed into law.

In last week’s bicameral conference committee, the House has adopted the Senate version of the measure, which will now be transmitted to Malacanang for President Aquino’s signature.

The measure makes election service optional for public school teachers and increases honoraria for board of election inspector (BEI) and their support staff that will take effect in this year’s elections.

Sen. Bam said compensation for BEI chairman will be increased to P6,000 from P3,000 while BEI members will receive P5,000 from P3,000.

From P3,000, Department of Education (DepEd) supervisor/official will earn P4,000 while support staff will receive P2,000 from P1,500.

The teachers and all persons who rendered election service would also be entitled to a travel allowance of P1,000 each.

Sen. Bam said any person who causes the delay in the payment due to the BEI members beyond the prescribed period of 15 days from the election date will be liable for an election offense.

The measure also gives five days of service credit instead of three to all government officials and employees serving as members of the electoral boards, DepEd supervisor/official and support staff.

The ESRA also seeks to increase the death benefits from P200,000 to P500,000 and the medical assistance in such amount as may be “sufficient to cover for medical and hospitalization expenses until recovery” of injuries sustained while in the performance of election duties.

In case of lack of personnel, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) may appoint any registered voter to the BEI in the following order of preference: private school teachers, national government employees (DepEd non-teaching personnel), other national government officials and employees holding regular or permanent positions, excluding uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

 Members of Comelec-accredited citizen’s arms and other civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations can also do election duties in lieu of public school teachers who opt not to participate in the electoral process.

Bam: Senate OKs Bill Protecting Children Against Disasters

The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill creating a national program that will provide protection and assistance to Filipino children affected by disasters, calamities and armed conflicts.

According to Sen. Bam Aquino, a co-author of Senate Bill No. 3034 or the Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act, children will be given utmost priority during and after every disaster.

“We will continue to work in protecting our Filipino children during disasters, calamities, or armed conflict, but also to reduce trauma and build their resistance to these threats,” Sen. Bam said.

As an archipelago lying along the Pacific Ring of Fire, Sen. Bam stressed that the country is one of the most vulnerable to the threat of climate change.

“While we have already made big improvements in the field of disaster risk reduction on a national and local level, now we have the opportunity to target our Filipino children, one of the most vulnerable sectors during times of calamity,” said Sen. Bam, chairman of the Committee on Youth.

In filing the measure, Sen. Bam underscored the need to focus on Filipino children as they are the most vulnerable and are worst affected during disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flash floods.

During the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda, Aquino said an estimated six million children were affected, according to data from Save the Children. 

If enacted into law, existing policies will be reviewed to give better support to Filipino children, especially during disasters, calamities or in armed conflict to help lessen trauma, restore normalcy quickly and build their resilience better.

“A national program is crucial in the most vulnerable areas of the country, where the experience of prolonged displacement would have a profound impact on the children’s sense of security, physical and emotional well being,” Sen. Bam said.

The measure also pushes for child-centered training to disaster first responders, teachers, psychologists and other volunteers in disaster recovery, relief and rehabilitation, with special modules for different stages of children and youth development.

“Providing the targeted needs of the Filipino children, specifically during times of distress, ensures the long-term security and health of our nation,” Aquino stressed.



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