Party-List Solon Calls for the Investigation of the Violent Expulsion of Silverio Residents


April 24, 2012

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

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio condemns the brutal expulsion of the residents of Silverio Compound, Paranaque. The violent dispersal resulted in one fatality, several injuries and damage to some properties.


The local government’s demolition team, backed by armed policemen were barred by the residents from entering and destroying what has been the Silverio Compound residents’ home for years now. The tension between the demolition team and the residents of the area resulted in a violent exchange of rocks and blows. As the residents fought for their homes, their families and their livelihood, the police and the demolition team responded with excessive beatings and even resorted to the throwing of tear gas.


Arnel Leonor Tolentino, a resident of Silverio, died of a gunshot wound to the head as confirmed by Philippine Red Cross Secretary- General Gwendolyn Pang. Witnesses say that Tolentino was not part of the protest and was only an onlooker. Residents, including minors, were injured as policemen used truncheons and guns against the protesters, as videos clearly show on national television. Some of the residents were also arrested for police investigation. The police continued to hit even those who were already handcuffed. Members of Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) were also spotted by the residents meandering around the area..


ACT Teachers Party-list, together with other members of the MAKABAYAN Coalition in the House of Representatives, filed House Resolution No. 2072 to investigate the brutal dispersal of the residents of Pinaglabanan, San Juan. The Resolution stressed that rules and regulations must be followed by the police and other entities conducting the demolition. Rules must be followed prior to the conduct of the demolition, rules of engagement and criminal, administrative, or civil liabilities for violations of the same. The progressive solons called for an moratorium on all demolitions and the implementation of a comprehensive social housing and livelihood program for the poor.


“There must be an independent investigation to identify those accountable for any excesses against the Residents of the Silverio Compound. The manner in which the police and the demolition team dispersed the residents clearly violates the general rules governing police response during protest actions, prohibiting the police from carrying guns and other weapons other that riot sticks and helmets,” Rep. Tinio said.


Although Henry Sy denies any connection to the property in question, residents insist that nobody, not even a business magnate can rightfully claim the land where their houses are built because they have already been awarded titles under the Community Mortgage Program under the Local Government Unit dating back to the administration of Mayor Joey Marquez. This means that the residents of the community have been paying for their lots for years, entitling them to the ownership of the land.


“The government turn a deaf ear to the poor people but easily accommodate the whims of personages of big corporations. The Urban Development Housing Act (UDHA) has many policies that are not favorable to the majority of the Filipino people. Our people are being “squatters” in our own country. The local government of Paranaque, like the current Aquino administration must prioritize its citizens, its toiling masses and not those who are after profit and personal interests only.”Rep. Tinio concluded.


ACT Teachers solon hails COMELEC support for teachers’ benefits, welfare in 2013 polls


April 26, 2012

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio L. Tinio welcomes the support pledged by Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Chair Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. for teachers’ rights and welfare at a dialogue Wednesday, April 25, at Intramuros.: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)


The dialogue was set up by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) to advance proposals for higher compensation and adequate protection of teachers who will be deputized by COMELEC in the national polls next year.


Revealing that he had seen firsthand the sacrifices of teachers during elections, Brillantes understands the need to compensate them fairly.  “We will not object to whatever you [teachers] will ask,” he says, referring to the poll body which he chairs.  He stresses, however, that there should be a similar commitment on the part of the executive branch, particularly the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), in the form of budgetary allocations.


Tinio and ACT seeks higher pay for teachers who sit in the boards of election inspectors (BEIs) and support personnel (P5,000 and P1,500, respectively for the entire three-day election service).  They also propose a P3,000-honorarium for principals deputized as precinct supervisors.  Previously, teachers were given P4,000 and principals were not paid at all.


As for the perennial delay in the giving of honoraria, Brilliantes says, “Maipapangako ko sa inyo—hindi na made-delay.”


Brillantes also supports the enactment of Tinio’s House Bill 4096, which seeks to open election service to all citizens, thus releasing public school teachers from the burden of preparing for elections and running them at the precinct level.  Pending its enactment, Brillantes says that COMELEC may issue resolutions that would allow exceptions to mandatory service for health reasons, age, and the like.  He adds that COMELEC is studying other ways to ease the load of BEIs, such as streamlining the procedure inside precincts.


Tinio brought to COMELEC’s attention the failure of thousands of teachers to vote during the 2010 elections.  With the implementation of automation, those in BEIs were prevented from voting in the precincts where they were assigned because the precinct count optical scan machines there do not contain their names.  They did not have time to go to the precincts where they were registered due to the clustering of precincts and heavy work load.  Brillantes vows to put three extra ballots per precinct to enable BEI members to vote in the 2013 polls.  He also commits to study other proposals to prevent a recurrence of the disenfranchisement, such as early appointment of BEIs, longer breaks, and inclusion of teachers in the rules for domestic absentee voting.


Tinio relayed teachers’ concerns on security.  Brillantes agrees that greater protection from harassment, intimidation, and violence should be given to teachers, and promises closer coordination of the COMELEC with the Philippine National Police.


Tinio also proposes an insurance fund higher than the P200,000,000 appropriated for the last elections, which would afford teachers a hazard pay, sufficient coverage for medical assistance, and life insurance.


Lastly, Tinio stresses the need for extending protection to teachers after the elections, in the form of legal assistance for teachers sued for election-related criminal and administrative charges.  Brillantes raised the possibility of having a kitty fund from which COMELEC would tap for the services of the Public Attorney’s Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, or private lawyers who will aid these teachers.


To make the above proposals possible, Tinio and Brillantes vowed to cooperate towards a higher COMELEC budget at the deliberations for the 2013 General Appropriations Act beginning August this year.


“This support voiced by the country’s polling agency only proves that there are material bases for teachers’ clamor for fair compensation and adequate physical, political, and legal protection for their efforts and sacrifices,” Tinio says.  “Education Secretary Bro. Armin Luistro is now joined by COMELEC Chair Brillantes in rallying behind teachers in their struggle for rights and welfare during elections.”


“It is high time for President Aquino to do the same—we challenge him to direct the DBM and his allies in Congress to champion a higher COMELEC budget to make all these proposed reforms possible, and to enable the swift enactment of related legislative reforms such as HB 4096.”  ###