[ 6 Sep 2018 | Comments Off on Increase salaries now, amid record high inflation ]

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PRESS RELEASE
06 September 2018
ACT Teachers Representative France Castro urgently demanded for an increase in the salaries of teachers and other government employees as inflation hits another record high of 6.4%.
“On the first day of the celebration of teachers’ month yesterday, we were greeted with the news of another hike in inflation,” Castro said. “This administration has been breaking records with the rising rate in inflation at the expense of the poor not being able to afford basic goods and services as wages and salaries remain low.”
“This administration, especially the economic …

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[ 4 Oct 2018 | Comments Off on Rechannel war budget to education and services-solons ]

PRESS RELEASE
4 October 2018

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro pushed for the rechanneling of the budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense for ammunition, guns and bombs to the budget for education, health and other social services in the plenary debates of the 2019 budget. The solons said that the current proposed budget contains a bigger budget for ammunition and bombs compared to the budget for books, classrooms and learning materials despite the change in the budgeting system.

“We urge the House Leadership to rechannel the overflowing budget allocated for bombs, bullets and guns under the Department of National Defense to education for books, classroom materials and the construction of new classrooms,” Tinio said. “We have pointed out in the past budget deliberations and again this year in the debates with the DND and DBM budget that the government continues to prioritize a budget for war instead of a budget that would provide millions of Filipinos with adequate, quality social services. People have been chanting libro hindi bala, classroom hindi bomba’ in the streets because of this budget prioritization of the government.”

“The DBM is so quick to approve and include budget increases for the salary hike of military and uniformed personnel while civilian employees would have to wait years for DBM to finish conducting their ‘study’ and if approved, they would get small amounts given in tranches,” Castro said. “Teachers, students and other government employees have long clamored for a higher budget for education and an immediate increase in their salaries especially in the onslaught of the TRAIN law with the record high inflation. It is high time that the Duterte administration hear the calls of its people and approve a budget for the people.”

In the committee meeting of the budget deliberations of the Department of National Defense, it was revealed by the DBM through the interpellation of Rep. Tinio that there was a ‘Presidential instruction’ to include a total of P3.655 billion additional budget for the Philippine Army and the Philippine Air Force for provision of ammunition, MOOE requirements for capability upgrading, assault riffles, activation of 11 battalions and 1 engineering brigade, precision guided rockets, among others.

“We ask the DBM, why is it that if the military asks for a budget increase, the DBM is quick to approve their requests while civilian employees and frontline service providers are always faced with a negative response by the DBM?” Tinio stated. “It is clear what the Duterte administration has a high priority for its militaristic budget. Despite the change in the budgeting system and despite all other agencies receiving enormous budget cuts, the DILG and the DND still received high budget increases.”

“We demand that the budget for education, health and other frontline services increase and items for the war waged against the people be slashed. This 2019 proposed budget is not a budget for the people. It continues to cut the budget for basic social services in the guise of the cash based system. The budget for education and health have always lacking and has never been adequate for the needs of the Filipino people while the budget for military have always been a top priority for the government. It is high time that we change it,” Castro ended. ###

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[ 4 Oct 2018 | Comments Off on Stop hinting at nationwide martial law, prioritize economic crisis ]

PRESS RELEASE
4 October 2018

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro strongly condemned statements by the Armed Forces of the Philippines saying that the so-called ‘Red October’ plot aims to force President Duterte to declare nationwide martial law and the red tagging of Metro Manila schools. The solons said that it is President Duterte himself with the military who are eager to declare martial law nationwide.

“We strongly condemn the Duterte administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for their statements floating a nationwide declaration of Martial law amid the so-called ‘Red October’ ouster plot. We reiterate that it is President Duterte himself with the military who are eager to declare martial law nationwide, that’s why they are keen in making up a baseless ‘Red October’ ouster plot,” Tinio said. “The military has been demonizing legal protests and mobilizations of students and workers demanding for higher budget in education, adequate salaries, end of contractualization and the junking of the TRAIN law. These are legitimate demands that the military has been tagging as an ouster plot against the Duterte administration.”

“The military has been tagging workers strikes as part of the ‘Red October’ ouster plot against the Duterte administration. These statements by the military and the Duterte administration only prove that they have no intention in addressing the legitimate calls of the people,” Castro said. “Nowhere in the workers’ strikes have they demanded for a declaration of a nationwide martial law. In fact, workers and students have strongly opposed martial law in Mindanao.”

“We strongly condemn the AFP for releasing its list of schools where the CPP is allegedly recruiting for the Duterte administration’s imaginary Red October plot. By doing so, it is vilifying legal progressive student organizations, placing a chilling effect on political dissent, and endangering the lives of students,” she added.

“We demand that the Duterte administration, especially the military, to stop their lies on the ‘Red October’ ouster plot with their objective to red-tag legal and legitimate protests and mobilizations of students and workers calling for adequate wages, an end to contractualiztion and the end to the TRAIN Law,” Tinio added. “There is no basis for the ‘Red October’ ouster plot. The Duterte administration has been occupied with this ‘Red October’ ouster plot while its people have been clamoring against the never ending price hikes of basic goods and salaries and wages have remained stagnant. We urge the Duterte administration to prioritize solving the economic crisis faced by the poor Filipino people instead of demonizing their legitimate calls to the government.”###

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[ 2 Oct 2018 | Comments Off on Solons laud approval of 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave in Bicam ]
PRESS RELEASE
2 October 2018
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro lauded the approval of the bicameral version of the expanded Maternity Leave bill yesterday. Both Rep. Tinio and Rep. Castro are among the principal authors of the expanded maternity leave bill. The solons call for the immediate passage of theĀ  105-day Expanded Maternity Leave bill into law.
“We welcome the approval of the 105-day expanded maternity leave bill at the bicameral conference committee yesterday,” Tinio said. “The approval of this bill has been long overdue. Motherhood and child-rearing are part of nation building, therefore the government must prioritize the increase the days of maternity leave.”
“Eighty percent of teachers are women. Providing an expanded maternity leave would allow teachers who are new mothers to cope and adjust better when they are set to return to their classes,” Castro said. “With a short time for maternity leave for teachers, the health and welfare of the newborn and the nursing mother and the quality of education for their students may suffer.”
“The current maternity leave is extremely inadequate and considered among one of the shortest maternity leave in the whole world as per the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention,” Tinio stated. “This measure further assures the security of tenure of female workers and emphasizes that maternity leave shall not be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination.”
“We call for the immediate passage of this bill into law. The expanded maternity leave has long been the clamor of women workers and employees,” Castro added. “In the onslaught of the TRAIN Law, the approval of the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave is the least the government can do for our women workers.”###

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[ 29 Sep 2018 | Comments Off on President’s admission will be taken seriously -solons ]

PRESS RELEASE
29 September 2018

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro lambasted the lame excuse of the Duterte administration saying that the admission of President Duterte on extrajudicial killings should not be taken seriously. The solons said that this is an issue concerning people’s lives and should not be taken as a joke. Both solons also said that the President blatantly admitted that he is guilty of extrajudicial killings and he will be accountable for his crimes against the Filipino people.

“President Duterte’s statement that his only sin are the extrajudicial killings is a clear admission of guilt,” Tinio said. “His administration, Spokesperson Roque and Chief Legal Counsel Panelo should stop giving excuses for President Duterte not being serious with what he said or it only being a language barrier. The President’s statements are very clear. He is guilty of extrajudicial killings.”

“If we were to believe Spokesperson Roque every time he tries to ‘clarify’ what President Duterte said, it would appear that our president is not serious about anything,” Castro said. “Our country is facing serious problems with record high inflation and worsening culture of impunity. In the recent Pulse Asia survey, inflation and higher pay are the most urgent concerns of the Filipino people. I don’t think now is a time to joke about an admission of guilt when thousands of Filipinos are killed with his war on drugs and Oplan Kapayapaan.”

“Seryoso ang mamamayang Pilipinong labanan ang tiraniya at ang pamamaslang ng estado sa kanyang mamamayan, sa pakikibaka para sa hustisya at pagsugpo sa kahirapan. Kelan kaya seseryosohin ng administrasyong Duterte ang mga hinaing ng mamamayan na itigil ang pamamaslang, tugunan ang napakataas na presyo ng bilihin, ang napakababang sahod at ang pagsulong ng hustisya at pangmatagalang kapayapaan?” Castro added.

“In his last State of the Nation Address, he said he cared about human lives more than human rights. His recent statements only proves that the President does not care about his people at all,” Tinio added. “What this administrstion is doing is further deceiving the Filipino people. We do not want your insensitive, offensive and anti-people ‘jokes’.”

“The people need concrete solutions to the serious problems that the Filipino people have to deal with due to the anti-people policies of this administration. President Duterte will be held to account for his crimes against the people. This is not a joke,” Tinio ended.###