Articles Archive for May 2011
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio today reiterated call for the passage of legislation mandating pay increases for workers in the public and private sectors in the light of recent reports that 300 universities and colleges nationwide shall implement tuition fee increases this school year and that prices of school supplies have gone up by 5 per cent.
“The increase in tuition fees, together with the hike in prices of school supplies, highlights the rising cost of education, especially in private schools. This emphasizes the inadequacy of the recently approved P22 increase in COLA in NCR and justifies the immediate granting of a substantial pay hike for all workers. We support the demand for a legislated P125 daily wage increase for the private sector and a P6,000 increase in the minimum salary of government workers,” said Tinio. “If salaries are not increased, more students, particularly in higher education, will join the ranks of out-of-school youths and be deprived of their right to education.“
Tinio is a co-author of House Bill 375 providing for a P125 nationwide, across-the-board daily wage hike for private sector workers and House Bill 3746 mandating a P6,000 increase in the minimum pay of government employees. #
Explanation Of Vote Against House Bill 4146, An Act Providing For The Synchronization Of The Elections And The Term Of Office Of The Elective Officials Of The Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (Armm) With Those Of The National And Other Local Officials, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 9333, Entitled “An Act Fixing The Date For Regular Elections For Elective Officials Of The Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao”, And For Other Purposes
Rep. Antonio L. Tinio
ACT Teachers Party-List
ACT Teachers Party-List votes “no” to House Bill 4146 for the following reasons:
1. House Bill 4146 is offensive to the 1987 Constitution and the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
First, the Constitution assures the people of ARMM local autonomy, by express provision in Section 2 of Article X and by the assurance of regular elections. But while proponents use the terms “resetting” or “synchronization” of elections, the bill will actually provide for the cancellation of elections scheduled in August 2011.
HB 4146, by providing for the appointment by Malacañang of “officers-in-charge” to take over the posts vacated by incumbent elected officials of ARMM whose terms shall have ended, does tremendous violence to the whole democratic process of election of officials to executive and legislative posts outlined and mandated in the ARMM Organic Act (R.A. 6734 as amended by R.A. 9054).
Furthermore, Article XVII of the ARMM Organic Act provides for the various ways by which amendments to said Act may be effected. Ultimately, ratification by the people in the ARMM through a plebiscite is required to make any amendment effective.
Proponents of HB 4146 are acting in bad faith when they claim that the bill will in no way amend the ARMM Organic Act, despite the fact that it strikes at fundamental features of the latter, namely its provisions on the participation of citizens in the ARMM in elections to select their regional executive and legislative officials. Such a claim is made in order to justify the blatant circumvention of said provisions on amendment, particularly the requirement of ratification through a plebiscite.
2. House Bill 4146 violates the democratic rights of citizens in ARMM and makes a mockery of regional autonomy.
House Bill 4146 is profoundly undemocratic, depriving the citizens in ARMM of their fundamental right to choose their leaders and imposing a set of leaders who will rule for nearly two years without the mandate or consent of the governed.
By providing for “Officers-in-Charge,” it will formally reinstate the colonial relations that have historically prevailed between the National Government and Muslim Mindanao, and which are at the root of the long-running and ongoing struggle of the Bangsamoro for self-determination.
The very language used by Malacañang and its proponents in the House to justify the bill reflects this colonialist thrust. ARMM is referred to as a “failed substate,” directly echoing the rhetoric employed by the United States to justify the invasion and installation of puppet governments in Afghanistan and Iraq, two countries with predominantly Muslim populations. In the same way, the bill will allow Malacañang to impose a set of leaders handpicked from its stable of retainers, to rule what is in effect a puppet government in ARMM.
3. House Bill 4146 grants the President the dictatorial power to appoint officials to elective posts.
House Bill 4146 will set a dangerous precedent by granting the President the dictatorial power to appoint officials to elective posts. Nowhere in the Constitution or in existing laws is the President granted such a power. No President serving under the current Constitution has exercised such a power.
This representation rejects the argument propounded by the proponents, taking their cue from the Secretary of Justice, that the provision on appointment of OICs may be justified by invoking the “residual powers” of the President. We maintain that “residual powers” can only be exercised by the President in a situation where the law is silent but executive action is required. HB 4146, on the other hand, explicitly grants the President the power to appoint OICs. To be valid, it must therefore either be consistent with existing laws or amend or repeal existing laws. As argued earlier, HB 4146 does neither—it violates key provisions of the ARMM Organic Act and also fails to comply with its provisions on amendment. In any case, by definition, “residual powers” cannot be invoked.
Proponents of the bill parade various reasons that allegedly warrant the postponement of elections. One such justification is that postponement of elections and Presidential appointment of OICs is a necessary condition for the implementation of election and governance reforms in the allegedly “failed experiment” that is ARMM. Such an argument holds no water since the Constitution, the ARMM Organic Act, and other existing laws provide the President and the COMELEC with ample powers to check abuses and implement reforms in ARMM at any time. This include the Executive’s power to withhold the release of funds to ARMM, and the power to suspend its officials. Moreover, the President retains full control over the Armed Forces. Urgent reforms in ARMM, such as the audit of its finances, dismantling of private armies, and cleansing of the voters’ list can and should be implemented now, not after the postponement of elections. The regular conduct of elections is in fact part and parcel of such reforms.
This representation refuses to be a party to a measure that will violate the fundamental democratic rights of our citizens, trample on the historic demand of Muslim Filipinos for self-determination, and hand over to the Executive unprecedented dictatorial powers on a silver platter.
I vote “no” to House Bill 4146. #
May 9, 2011
Faculty associations and unions from various State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) in Luzon expressed their support for a bill upgrading the salaries of teaching personnel in public higher education institutions.
The Philippine National Confederation of Faculty Associations of SUCs (PNCFASUC)-Luzon endorsed House Bill 4523, filed by ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio, during its recently-concluded consultative training conference held in Subic, Zambales on May 2-4, 2011. Tinio held a dialogue with the faculty associations on the first day of the conference.
Fifty-three (53) delegates from 27 participating faculty unions and associations attended the conference. They came from SUCs in Ilocos Sur, Pangasinan, La Union, Benguet, Kalinga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bataan, Cavite, Rizal, Mindoro, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, and the National Capital Region. The conference was led by PNCFASUC-Luzon President Evelyn Tria of Bataan Peninsula State University.
House Bill 4523, “An Act Upgrading the Minimum Salary Grade of Public Higher Education Teaching Personnel from Salary Grade 12 to 16,” aims to raise the salary grade of an entry-level Instructor I from Salary Grade 12 to Salary Grade 16. Salary grade levels of higher teaching positions will be adjusted accordingly. At present, the salary of an entry-level Instructor I in SUCs is Php16,726.00 per month. If passed, the bill will raise it to Php26,878.00 monthly. The bill covers all faculty in public universities and colleges, whether funded by the national or local government.
“We welcome the endorsement of the faculty organizations under the umbrella of PNCFASUC. Their support will be crucial in ensuring that the bill gains widespread support among legislators,” said Tinio.
“Due to sustained cuts in the budgets of SUCs, teaching personnel are facing worsening working conditions, such as oversized classes and heavier teaching loads. This exacerbates the erosion of their salaries in relation to the rising cost of living. This makes the enactment of the salary upgrading bill all the more urgent,” concluded Tinio.#
A lawmaker is seeking to increase from P700 to P2,000 the annual allowance of classroom teachers for classroom supplies and materials as provided in the annual appropriations for the Department of Education (DepEd).
Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers) said the government provides classroom teachers with an annual allowance for classroom supplies and materials, popularly known as “chalk allowance,” amounting to Php700 per teacher per school year or P3.50 per school day.
“Such meager amount is not enough to cover the costs, not only of chalk, but also of other supplies such as erasers, pens, pencils, notebooks, class records, Manila paper, cartolina, bond paper, art paper, and others that are essential for the daily function of teaching and learning in the classroom,” Tinio said.
Because of this, classroom teachers are forced to draw from their own finances to pay for classroom supplies and materials, which should be provided by the government, Tinio said.
Tinio sought the immediate passage of House Bill 4134, noting “the policy of the State is to promote and improve the economic status of teachers and assist them in providing quality education to their students.”
House Bill 4134, also known as Teaching Supplies Allowance Act of 2011, seeks to increase the annual allowance for classroom supplies from P700 to P2,000 (P9.85 per day) to relieve the country’s public school teachers of onerous financial burden.
“The Teaching Supplies Allowance shall be paid only to classroom teachers,” Tinio said.
The measure mandates the Secretary of Education to conduct a periodic review of the Teaching Supplies Allowance, taking into account the current prices of classroom supplies and if warranted, recommend the necessary increase in the amount of the allowance.
The amount required to cover the increase shall be included in the Department’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year.