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[ 26 Sep 2011 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

September 26, 2011

 

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio is calling for the deletion of a provision in the national budget that allows public schools to augment their budgets through the collection of fees.

The lawmaker is referring to Special Provision Number 11 of the Department of Education budget in the General Appropriations Bill, “Augmentation of Appropriations of National Elementary and Secondary Schools.” This authorizes schools to augment their maintenance and operations budget through the collection of “fees, charges, and assessments…in the exercise of their functions.”

“This provision contradicts the Constitutional mandate that basic education shall be free,” said Tinio. “Commercialization of miscellaneous public school services can and does serve as a barrier to access, especially for the poorest students. This provision must be removed from the 2012 General Appropriations Act to mark government’s commitment to providing education for all.”

He pointed out that the provision, which has been in the General Appropriations Act for years, is no longer in harmony with recent DepEd policy on the collection of school fees. He cited DepEd Order No. 65, s. 2010, which instructs all concerned parties of DepEd to remove financial obstacles to enrollment, such as collection of fees, charges, and assessments, in national elementary and secondary schools.

“This policy states that there will be absolutely no collection of fees for Grades 1 to 4. The collection of fees is allowed for the higher grade and year levels starting at one month after the enrollment period, but only on a voluntary basis,” clarified Tinio.

“The conflict between existing law and current DepEd policy creates confusion among education stakeholders. We want to make the policy of ‘no collection of school fees’ clear and unambiguous to all parties concerned,” said Tinio. “Hopefully, this will resolve the disputes between school administrators, parents, and students that inevitably arise during the opening of the school year regarding collection of fees.”

Tinio noted that, upon questioning during the DepEd’s pre-plenary budget hearing before the Committee on Appropriations last September 15, Secretary Armin Luistro declared that the Deped is amenable to the deletion of the provision in question.

It was also revealed in the said hearing that the DepEd has been unable to comply with the reportorial requirements of the said provision.

Tinio has submitted his proposal to delete the said provision to the Committee on Appropriations as one of the amendments to the 2012 General Appropriations Bill. #

 

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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[ 26 Sep 2011 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

September 25, 2011

 

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio is calling for the regularization of nearly 20,000 volunteer kindergarten teachers employed by the Department of Education.

“Regularization of their employment status is the only way to address their exploitative working conditions, including the recurring problem of delayed payments,” said Tinio. He noted that there are currently 19,063 volunteer kindergarten teachers employed by DepEd on a contractual basis.

The party-list representative was reacting to reports that volunteer kindergarten teachers throughout the country have not yet received their pay since the start of the school year this June. Some have not yet been paid for their service during the summer. “We also received the same complaints from the DepEd’s kindergarten teachers last school year. This will be a recurring problem for as long as they are not regular employment and aren’t part of the DepEd’s regular payroll. They will experience a delay of from three to six months in payment of their honoraria. That’s the harsh reality for contractuals serving in the DepEd’s ‘Kindergarten Volunteer Program,’” he added.

Tinio pointed out that DepEd’s volunteer kindergarten teachers are paid a mere Php 3,000 to Php 6,000 per month, are not entitled to social security benefits such as GSIS and Philhealth, and enjoy no security of tenure.

Tinio submitted an amendment to the 2012 General Appropriations Bill that would require the Department of Education to prioritize the hiring of qualified contractual or volunteer teachers, whether employed by the DepEd or by local government units. He also proposed an additional allocation of Php 8.5 billion to the DepEd budget for the hiring of 38,593 new teachers. This is on top of the funding for 13,000 new teaching items proposed by Malacañang.

“Our proposed budget amendments will allow for the regularization of volunteer teachers while substantially addressing the gross shortage of teachers in our public schools,” said Tinio.

Tinio urged the DepEd and his colleagues in Congress to support his proposed amendments. “The Aquino administration must repudiate its de facto reliance on the large-scale contractualization of teachers for its Universal Kindergarten program.”

Below is the text of Tinio’s proposed amendment to the DepEd budget:

Regularization of qualified contractual and volunteer teachers. In the hiring of new teachers, whether to fill unfilled or newly created positions, priority shall be given to qualified contractual and volunteer teachers, whether employed by the Department of Education or the local government units.

 

References:

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

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[ 23 Sep 2011 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE
September 23, 2011
 

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio called for a drastic increase in the budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) to address the shortage of regular faculty in the country’s public higher education institutions.

“There is a gross shortage of qualified regular faculty in all 110 state universities and colleges,” said Tinio. “Congress must address this by allocating the necessary funds.”

Tinio made the call in support of today’s nationwide youth strike against the budget cuts to higher education proposed by the Aquino administration in its 2012 national budget.

“We’re one with the students, faculty, staff, and administrators of the country’s 110 State Universities and Colleges in their call for increased allocations to higher education,” said Tinio.

The ACT Teachers solon proposed an additional Php 2.4 billion for SUCs for the creation of 8,000 full-time faculty positions as an amendment to the 2012 General Appropriations Bill currently under consideration in Congress

Tinio explained that the creation of new teaching positions has not kept pace with the explosive growth of enrollment in SUCs in the past two decades. “Enrollment in  SUCs has more than doubled since 1990, but the number of regular faculty has remained more or less constant in the majority of SUCs.” He cited the case of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology in Cagayan de Oro. It had 185 regular faculty and an enrollment of 4,000 when it opened in 1978. Since then, not a single new faculty item has been added to their roster even though their enrollment has grown to over 9,000.”

Tinio decried what he described as a “de facto moratorium” on the creation of new teaching positions in SUCs. “This has forced SUCs to hire large numbers of faculty on a part-time, contractual basis.

He noted that, of the 40,307 teachers serving in SUCs last year, 12,462 were part-time faculty. “Almost one-third of the teaching force in SUCs are part-time faculty.” In some instances, part-time faculty outnumber their full-time counterparts. He cited the case of  the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with 1,695 part-timers over 1,186 full-timers. “One of the most glaring is J.H. Cerilles State College in Zamboanga del Sur, which has 522 part-timers against 114 full-timers.

He described part-time faculty as among the most exploited among the ranks of teachers. “They are paid a very low hourly rate, giving them an average monthly compensation of around Php 8,000 a month, which is below minimum wage. They have social protection benefits such as GSIS and Philhealth, are not allowed to unionize, and have no job security. It becomes more difficult for our SUCs to attract and retain qualified faculty given such working conditions.”

“In the ongoing public debate on budget cuts to higher education, much has been said about the reduced allocations for maintenance and operations and the zero capital outlay of SUCs,” said Tinio. “This is understandable, given their direct impact on tuition and other fee increases. But the most massive cuts are being made in personnel–specifically the freeze on hiring of regular faculty and the large-scale deployment of part-time, contractual teachers. This is where the biggest costs are cut, through the exploitation of teachers.”

Tinio further noted that budget cuts on teaching personnel have the greatest impact on the quality of education in SUCs. “It directly affects teaching and research, which are the core functions of universities. No new regular faculty items in the context of burgeoning enrollment means larger class sizes, heavier teaching loads, longer teaching hours, drastically reduced time for research and professional development for faculty.” #

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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[ 22 Sep 2011 | One Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

September 22, 2011

 

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations Monday the proposed amendments to House Bill 5023 or the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year 2012.

The proposed amendments focused on the budgets of the Department of Education (DepEd), State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Department of National Defense (DND), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), and General Provisions.

For the DepEd budget, Tinio proposed for the following amendments: additional P650 million for the augmentation of cash allowance (widely known as “chalk allowance”) to teachers, deletion of the special provision allowing National Elementary and Secondary Schools to augment their budgets through collection of fees, creation of 38,593 additional permanent teacher items to address the teacher shortage, deletion of provision for Public-Private Partnership (PPP) School Building Projects, regularization of 68,593 kindergarten and locally funded teachers, and construction of 6,250 additional classrooms.

Tinio earlier argued against PPPs in social infrastructure, citing reports proving they are costlier for taxpayers.

If approved, the additional funding requirements for the proposed amendments in the DepEd budget shall be taken from the funds of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program, the Conditional Cash Transfers-Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps), and the PPP scheme.

For SUCs, Tinio recommended a provision prioritizing the regularization of 14,425 precariously employed part-time faculty and the creation of 8,000 new teaching items to effectively address the lack of qualified regular faculty in the SUCs.

For DND, Tinio suggested tying the release of funds of military units to their human rights record. “We believe that the national budget should also be used as a tool to promote respect for human rights and address the problem of impunity, particularly within the ranks of the military. This proposed amendment for the DND budget aims to ensure that all units of the military down to the smallest level will be effective partners in enforcing and respecting human rights,” clarified Tinio.

Tinio also proposed to remove the funding of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program from the OPAPP budget, arguing that OPAPP is not an implementing agency but only a policy-making and coordinative body.  He pointed out that it is highly anomalous for an essentially armless agency to be given charge of a project P329,343,000 when the Staffing Summary of OPAPP does not record a single permanent item.

“During the plenary deliberations for the budget of OPAPP, it was revealed that this office does not have the absorptive capacity to implement the PAMANA program,” he stressed.

To the General Provisions, the ACT Teachers solon also suggested adding a debt cap provision and setting aside a budget for programs and services for persons with disabilities.

“In our proposed amendment, the total indebtedness of the National Government and any of its agencies, offices, GOCCs must not exceed 55% of the latest GDP,” said Tinio. “Government debt has surpassed ideal and manageable levels, even reaching 378.7% of the GDP in 2004.  The Philippines had also been paying interests double than what other countries pay (8.7% as opposed to only 4% or 5% for other countries), without the Congress knowing the details of the payments.”

“Last year, the consolidated debt obligation of the national government was 57% of the gross domestic product (P2.537 trillion internal debt, P1.921 trillion external debt),” added Tinio. Further, he emphasized that it is the ordinary citizen that carries the burden of paying the ballooning amount of government debt.

Lastly, the lawmaker proposed amending Section 28 concerning programs and/or projects related to senior citizens and differently-abled:  “All departments, bureaus, offices, agencies, commissions, and government owned and controlled corporations including state colleges and universities shall set aside at least one percent (1%) of their total FY 2012 budget appropriations for programs, services, and activities for senior citizens.  They shall also set aside at least one percent (1%) for programs, services, and activities for persons with disabilities.  Local government units shall set aside at least five percent (5%) of their total FY 2012 budget appropriations for programs, services, and activities for persons with disabilities.”

“This provision includes an obligation upon all government buildings and structures to have facilities or features that would ensure the mobility, safety, and welfare of persons with disabilities,” said Tinio.

The legislator vowed to push for the inclusion of the abovementioned amendments in the revised General Appropriations Bill.#

 

References:

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

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