Articles Archive for May 2010
August 4, 2010
ACT Teachers Party-List today filed a bill in the House of Representatives mandating an increase in teachers’ salaries. House Bill 2142, “The Public School Teachers’ Salary Upgrading Act,” raises the minimum salary grade level of public school teachers from Salary Grade 11 to Salary Grade 15.
Currently, the entry-level pay for public school teachers is P15,649 per month. The bill will raise their minimum pay to P24,887 per month. Public school teachers in elementary and secondary schools, including those in vocational and technical schools and state universities and colleges, whether nationally or locally funded, are covered by the bill.
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio joined some 30 members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers led by their Secretary-General Francisca Castro as they held a short program outside the main gate of the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City. They then proceeded to the House of Representatives, where Tinio filed the bill. He noted that this is the first bill he authored as a new member of Congress. “As stated in our party platform and as we said throughout the election campaign period, upgrading of teachers’ salaries is our number one priority.”
Tinio cited two reasons for introducing the bill. “First of all, current teachers’ pay does not ensure a decent standard of living for themselves and their families. Secondly, their pay doesn’t compare favorably with those in similarly-qualified occupations.”
He noted that the family living wage in the National Capital Region, estimated at P957 per day or more than P21,054 per month, is in sharp contrast with the P15,649 monthly salary of a Teacher I. “In order to cope with this ‘living salary gap,’ teachers resort to borrowing and are heavily indebted to government financial institutions such as the GSIS, private lending institutions, or loan sharks.”
Furthermore, he explained that government pays more to uniformed personnel than to its teachers. “A duly licensed professional teacher occupying the entry-level position of Teacher I, with a monthly salary of P15,649, earns substantially less than a high school graduate who enters the Philippine Military Academy as a cadet, with a monthly salary of P21,709 per month.”
He also pointed out that in the private sector, call center agents are typically better-paid than public school teachers. “The salary for call center employment, which requires neither formal education nor bachelor’s degree, ranges from P12,500 to P20,000 a month. It’s no wonder we’re seeing some of our best teachers leaving the country to work abroad, whether as teacher or even as domestic helpers, nannies, or caregivers.”
Tinio expressed confidence that the bill will enjoy widespread support among teachers. “This is important because mass mobilization of teachers at the grassroots level is key to gaining majority support in Congress for the passage of this bill into law. We will meet with teachers all over the country to ensure that they take part in this campaign.”#
19 August 2010
Writer: Isagani C. Yambot Jr., MRS-PRIB
Lawmakers today opposed the proposed additional two years in Philippine basic education.
Instead, the lawmakers led by Rep. Dante Tinio (Party-list, ACT) urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to focus its attention on addressing the problems of lack of teachers, classrooms, textbooks, laboratory facilities, comfort rooms and other pressing education-related concerns.
Tinio said the government should fill the need for 54,060 teachers, 4,538 principals, and 6,473 head teachers on top of the immediate requirement for 61,343 classrooms, 816,291 school desks and 113,051 water and sanitation facilities.
“Many of our schools are dilapidated and don’t have a comfort room or even drinking fountain,” Tinio pointed out.
Likewise, Tinio said DepEd will be needing P400 million more to address the textbook shortage. “DepEd needs an additional P91.54 billion over and above its current budget to address all of these resource gaps,” Tinio said.
According to Tinio, DepEd must ensure that grade one pupils will reach and finish high school. He cited studies that only 43 out of 100 hundred high school students are able to finish their secondary education. This problem must be addressed, Tinio said.
“Because of the lack of public high schools in the country, there needs to be a dramatic expansion of access to high school education,” Tinio said, pointing out that out of 42,000 public elementary and high schools in the country only 4,000 of these are high school.
Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. (4th District, Cavite) branded the proposed two-additional year to basic education as “foolish and impractical.”
“We should first address the public school system’s widespread resource shortages,” Barzaga said.
“We already know the severity of the resource shortages like the lack of teachers and rooms. Learning sessions have to be cut short to accommodate other classes while students are forced to share textbooks in groups,” Barzaga added.
Barzaga said many children between three to six years old still do not have access to pre-schooling. “Existing public day care centers are inadequate, while private kindergartens are expensive and unaffordable to poor families. As a result, many children who enter Grade 1 actually lack preparation,” Barzaga said.
Barzaga said extra funds could also be invested in the early computer literacy of elementary and high school students. “We are still in the middle ages when it comes to the use of computers and the Internet as teaching and learning tools in public school,” he said.
Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela) said the plan of DepEd will only worsen the existing problems faced by the education sector including the lack of teachers, many of whom are also underpaid.
Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara (Lone District, Aurora), chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, urged DepEd to continue the school feeding program and the conditional cash transfer to poor families in the country.
August 12, 2010
“The thorny issue of land distribution is once again awaiting a decisive action by PNoy. He should remember, that it was hailed then as a landmark law during her mother’s term as president of this land. So what are you waiting for Pnoy?”, said Ms.France Castro, Secretary-general of Alliance of Concerned Teachers. “Those farmers have waited for more than twenty years and so justice must be served,” she added.
It is now the fundamental challenge for Pnoy’s political leadership. He must be decisive on the Hacienda Luisita case. Will he take the road to genuine development or turn a blind eye on the centuries –old bondage and exploitation of peasant and farm workers on the hands of big landlords of haciendas like Hacienda Luisita?”asked Ms. France Castro.
“Go , for social justice!” Ms. France Castro said . “ Our agriculture has long been backward and battered by trade and investments liberalization, privatization of agricultural extension services, and deregulation of government’ s role including its default on the implementation of a genuinely redistributive agrarian reform program.”
At the same time, agricultural production is small scale and technology is backward. The corporate firms such as those for export crops such as fruits and sugarcane, are concentrated in the hands of few families and transnational corporations.” Prominent families such as PNoy’s have made fortune out of these export crops and yet,’ kapit-tuko’ pa rin sila sa Hacienda Luisita,” Ms. Castro exclaimed.
The exacerbation of landlessness is most telling in regions designated as growth areas for foreign investments and export production resulting to new norms of exploitation, especially the increasing number of farmers becoming farm workers to augment their incomes.
Inhumane and deplorable working conditions of work and slave wages for land and agricultural workers such as in Hacienda Luisita is prevalent. We heard enough how globalization has intensified the destruction of the agricultural productive forces and landlessness and sunk millions of Filipino peasant families deeper into poverty.
By infusing profit-driven market oriented schemes and measures relying on foreign funding, the government has defaulted on its responsibility to implement a genuine land reform program.
“If PNoy wants to move forward to genuine development of our Motherland, then he must start fixing the problem in his own backyard. He must break the land monopoly which breed various exploitative relations in agriculture like rent and usury. He better set a good example, or else gain the wrath of the people including teachers who are closely watching this issue.” added Ms. Castro.#
December 2, 2010
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio condemned the excessive use of force and the destruction of private property perpetrated by the Philippine National Police when they broke up a protest action of kuliglig drivers in Manila yesterday afternoon.
“Police brutality was clearly on display during the dispersal and arrest of protesters. TV footage showed clear instances of policemen inflicting excessive force to subdue and arrest individuals,” said Tinio. “Furthermore, the use of a police truck to crush some of the pedicabs was totally gratuitous and completely unjustifiable.”
The ACT Teachers representative called on Manila Police District Chief Supertinendent Roberto Rongavilla to identify and sanction those responsible for the acts of brutality as well as the destruction of the pedicabs.
Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Pedicab at Kuliglig Drivers (Alnapedku) are protesting Manila mayor Alfredo Lim’s Executive Order No. 17 banning the three-wheeled vehicles on the city’s main roads. But Alnapedku pointed out that majority of their passengers can be found on prominent areas, not side streets.
Dispersed by water canon, police arrested 16 people. Detained overnight at the Manila Police District Headquarters, those with injuries were deprived of medical attention. Some claimed to be innocent bystanders and vendors who were indiscriminately arrested by authorities. Around 270 kuligligs were impounded by local government officials.
“These toiling kuliglig drivers are only fighting for their livelihood. Instead of drastic measures that would deprive them of their jobs, the Manila city government should exert greater efforts to find a compromise that’s acceptable to the parties involved. The fact that they are thriving means that they are providing a service that the community considers useful. What happened yesterday displayed a lack of understanding and compassion for the plight of the poor on the part of the Manila city government,” said Tinio. #