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[ 25 Aug 2011 | One Comment ]

The House Committee on Appropriations wraps up its 2012 budget briefings with the Department of Education, August 25. While deliberations are ongoing, students and teachers gather outside the gates of Congress to condemn the budget cuts on basic social services such as education and health.

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[ 24 Aug 2011 | One Comment ]

NEWS RELEASE

August 25, 2011

 

A party-list legislator today urged Congress to remove funding for public-private partnerships (PPPs) in education and healthcare services in the proposed 2012 national budget.

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio warned that PPPs, touted by President Benigno S. Aquino as an innovative solution to the perennial lack of classrooms and decrepit hospital facilities, will burden taxpayers with higher costs. “The public will only end up paying more. Taxpayers’ money will be used to subsidize private sector profit. PPPs should have no place in social services, especially education and health.”

In the proposed 2012 budget submitted by Malacañang, the Department of Education’s budget includes a Php 5 billion allocation for the first year requirements for the implementation of a PPP scheme to fast-track the construction of classrooms, while the Department of Health has a Php 3 billion allocation for the upgrading, rehabilitation, maintenance, and operation of 25 regional hospitals through PPPs.

Under this scheme, the Deped will enter into multi-year contracts with private contractors for the construction of school buildings. The private contractors advance the cost of construction while the Deped uses its Php 5 billion budget to to pay the first year amortization plus profit. Similar payments will be made yearly until the obligations to the private contractors are paid. According to Deped Secretary Armin Luistro, as many as 60,000 classrooms can be constructed within the year using this mode of PPPs.

A similar arrangement is being eyed by the Department of Health for the rehabilitation and upgrading of its regional hospitals. Private firms may also be tapped for their operation and management.

“This PPP scheme for education and health will cost the taxpayers more because the government must guarantee the private sector partners’ return on investment. Yes, the private contractors can construct the classrooms, but only if it’s profitable for them. That profit will have to come from the pockets of ordinary citizens,” said Tinio. “For this reason, public funding for social services is superior, because there’s no profit motive.”

The ACT Teachers solon pointed out that the classroom shortage can be addressed by the government by obtaining financing for the fast-tracked construction of schools on its own, without private sector partners. “This way, government can secure a loan at a lower interest rate, use the proceeds for a massive school-building program, pay the amortization using its yearly budget allocation, and eliminate the need to pay for private sector profit margins.”

“The Aquino administration must rethink its advocacy of PPPs in general, but especially in education, health, and other social services. Our people’s constitutionally-guaranteed rights to these services will be grossly undermined once they are opened up to money-making enterprises,” concluded Tinio.

The ACT Teachers representative will raise these concerns at the House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Department of Education’s proposed 2012 budget this afternoon. #

 

References:

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)

Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)

 

 

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[ 24 Aug 2011 | 2 Comments ]

NEWS RELEASE

August 24, 2011

 

At the budget hearing of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) yesterday, ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio slammed the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the use of its intelligence funds to monitor the activities of elected solons and legitimate teacher organizations instead of lawless elements.

Citing provisions of the PNP budget, Tinio asked PNP officials as to how the P505.4 million intelligence funds are being utilized. PNP Chief Raul Bacalzo said intelligence funds are intended for lawless elements and enemies of the state.

However, Tinio refuted Bacalzo’s statement by citing firsthand account in which he and other elected representatives and legitimate teacher organizations like the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) are being subjected to the PNP intelligence operations.

He cited a memorandum issued by the Philippine National Police Intelligence Group (OMD-11-0314-045) dated March 14, 2011 with a subject “Format in Monitoring and Reporting of Mass Actions” which sought to “monitor mass actions” of legal organizations.

The abovementioned memorandum gave basis to the monitoring of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association’s activity last August 19, 2011. According to reports, the QCPSTA sought a dialogue with the GSIS officials but was prevented by the security officials from entering the premises, citing a “confidential” order.

“The memorandum sends a chilling effect to organizations and individuals who wish to exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed rights to organization, assembly, free expression and privacy,” said Tinio.

“What happened was not even a mass action but a dialogue with the GSIS officials. The teachers only wanted to peaceably assemble for the redress of their grievances to GSIS,” he added.

Tinio stressed that the memorandum violated a number of existing laws such as the right to free expression, right to privacy and right to association/organization and peaceful concerted activities, stated in the Articles 3 and 13 of the Philippine Constitution, respectively.

“This highlights the fact that the Aquino administration is monitoring of legal activities of legitimate organizations. In the process, marginalized sectors such as teachers are left with a very little avenue for their grievances,” said Tinio.

The ACT Teachers solon also brought up the monitoring and surveillance operations conducted against him and his colleagues in the MAKABAYAN coalition during a private meeting in a private office building in Quezon City last August 6, 2011.

“Why does the PNP keep on tracking the activities of the duly-elected lawmakers, as well as teachers, of this country? Why don’t you monitor the operations of criminals, killers, drug syndicates, kidnappers and their likes?” slammed Tinio.

More over, Tinio warned PNP for the perilous events brought about by the “cloak of confidentiality” given to PNP operations.

Tinio cited items under the Operations services, Police Relation Services and Investigation Services which imply that activities such as disaster preparedness and relief operations, medical-dental outreach activities and socio-cultural development among others are all confidential in nature.

“Up to 66% of the PNP budget is described as being confidential in nature. And apparently, there is a danger in giving cloak of confidentiality to all PNP operations,” said Tinio.

Due to Tinio’s compelling remarks, House Appropriations Committee Chairperson Rep. Joseph Emilio A. Abaya requested the PNP Chief “to submit possible errata and phrase properly” the said items in the DILG budget.

Tinio called for the immediate disclosure of the contents of memorandum on the Format in Monitoring and Reporting of Mass Actions and demanded to put a stop to the surveillance operations inflicted towards him, his colleagues and legitimate teacher organizations. “We will call for a deferment of the PNP budget unless we are satisfied that these intelligence funds will not be used to violate civil liberties of citizenry,” ended Tinio.#

 

References:

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)

Julie Anne D. Tapit, Media Officer (0915-762-6522)