ARMM polls go manual: Savings should benefit poll employees, says COMELEC union

After Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chairman Sixto Brillantes’ announcement during a Senate hearing this morning that the elections in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be manual instead of automated should Congress so decides to push through with the polls as scheduled, the Alliance of COMELEC Employees in Service (ACES) today called on the poll leadership to respect the employees’ right to the savings of the agency.

According to the ACES, the poll body has allotted close to P2 billion pesos for the automation of the August 8, 2011 ARMM polls. The group said the amount is sourced from the COMELEC’s savings from last year. But since the ARMM polls will be manual, the ACES have pushed anew their call for the employees’ share to the agency’s savings.

“With the development that the ARMM polls will be manual instead of automated, we raise this question: Where will the almost P2 billion budget allotted for the automation of the said polls go?” the ACES asked, while stressing the employees’ right to the funds.

“The savings, we maintain, will be better spent if it is allotted to augmenting the salaries and benefits of COMELEC rank and file employees,” the group said.

The ACES reiterated that under Civil Service rules, rank and file employees who either contributed to the agency’s productivity and cost-cutting measures are entitled to as much as 80% of the agency’s savings from Personal Services (PS) and Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE).

The augmentation of salaries and benefits of COMELEC employees at this time, according to the ACES, will greatly assuage their suffering in light of sky-high prices of petroleum products, transportation, matriculation and other basic necessities. ###

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