ACT Teachers’ Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro’s statement on the railroading of Chief Justice Sereno’s impeachment


05 October 2017


We strongly score the railroading done by the House Committee on Justice on the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.  Today’s hearing is a clear manifestation of the Duterte administration’s political arm-twisting and bullying of those who oppose him. The House of Representatives is acting as a rubber stamp in the hands of President Duterte to do the demolition jobs.


The hearing is at the stage of determination of the sufficiency of the grounds, or whether they rise to the level of impeachable offenses. However, the Committee deliberately declined to discuss those very grounds in the complaint. The Committee did not even entertain the letters of Chief Justice Sereno’s lawyers asserting the right to cross-examine and confront Gadon and his witnesses. It is a clear scheme of railroading and the leadership intends to hasten the proceedings as a marching order of President Duterte.


Chief Justice Sereno’s impeachment is just one of the many dirty ploys by the Duterte administration to silence democracy. He intends to demolish the Chief Justice as head of a co-equal branch of the government. And he also plans to impeach the Ombudsman as his next target.


We call on the people to exercise vigilance and not be blinded by the scheme of President Duterte. ###

Solons join Teachers’ Day of Protest for Salary Increase

05 October 2017

Solons join Teachers’ Day of Protest for Salary Increase

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro joined the Teachers’ Day of Protest march to Mendiola today to condemn the Duterte administration’s failure to increase the salaries of public and private school teachers, instructors and other education personnel after more than a year in power.

National Teachers’ Day commemorates the signing in October 5 of the 1966 International Labor Organization at United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ILO-UNESCO) Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a historic document which sets the international standards of just living wage and benefits for teachers and humane working conditions, and recognizes their participation in the formulation and implementation of policies and laws affecting them and their profession.

“More than five decades after the adoption of the Recommendation, we have yet to see the implementation of these international standards. The ILO-UNESCO Recommendation calls for the government recognition, respect and protection of the rights of the educators, both in the public and private sectors,” Castro stressed. “Even despite Duterte’s promises of change and more than a year into his administration, the still-dismal state of the Philippine education system is reflected in the underpaid and overworked conditions of public and private school teachers.”

Tinio and Castro filed House Bill 56 back in July 26, 2016 proposing the increase in the minimum monthly salaries of public school teachers in basic education to P25,000, teaching personnel in state universities and colleges to P27,000 and non-teaching personnel to P16,000. They also support the demand for national daily minimum wage of P750 and an end to contractualization for those in the private sector including teachers. However, such measures are not included in the administration’s priority legislative agenda, the solons noted.

“If there is a will, there is a way. The Palace and the Congress already made concrete steps to increase the salaries of uniformed personnel since the proposed 2018 national budget includes around P25 Billion for the initial implementation of the 100% increase in the salaries of the police, military and other uniformed personnel,” Tinio noted.

“Now we have to ask: If the salaries of uniformed personnel increase, what about those in the civilian bureaucracy? These include teachers, nurses, and other rank-and-file government employees who are in the frontlines of providing services to the Filipino people,” Tinio remarked. “They also need and deserve decent salaries but this administration did not allocate funds for substantial increase of their salaries other than the meager increase provided by the past administration’s Executive Order 201.”

“Together with more than 600,000 public school teachers, we demand that the House of Representatives immediately discuss and approve HB 56 and other proposals for salary increases of teachers and government employees, as well as other measures for the salaries of private school teachers and an end to contractualization. We also demand the non-diminution and increase of benefits of public school teachers and other rank-and-file government employees. Today is a day of protest as we register our discontent with the administration’s unfulfilled promises,” Castro ended. ###

oct 5 PR just in case

Solons warn DepEd on act of red tagging of Lumad schools


03 October 2017


ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro warned the Department of Education (DepEd) in South Cotabato not to rely on any statements of the 27th Infantry Battalion about what it alleged to be a “revolutionary school” in Sitio Lamnu, Barangay Lam Afus, Banga, South Cotabato.


“The community learning schools and Lumad schools in South Cotabato have long been operational and in existence for the benefit of the children, however, until now the DepEd failed to release their accreditation. The DepEd has certain procedures and requirements which clearly do not include any inputs by the military but they still plan to use such,” Castro pointed.


“We warn DepEd South Cotabato not to entertain any malicious allegations of the military, considering its long and bloody record of targeting indigenous peoples (IPs) as so-called enemies of the state.  Instead of listening to the 27th IB, the DepEd should immediately act on the applications for accreditation of the IP schools and community learning centers in the area which have long been pending with DepEd,” said the solons. “As the agency tasked to ensure that all children are accorded their right to education, the DepEd must support the Lumad schools already existing in the areas.”


“DepEd should also conduct an independent assessment of the schools and decide on their accreditation based on its own procedures and rules, taking into consideration the lack of public schools in the area, the communities’ efforts to establish their schools, and the culture and needs of the IP communities they serve.  We demand that DepEd give the schools due process and inform whatever school or schools that they are subject of the military’s allegations,” Tinio said.


According to news reports, DepEd South Cotabato is awaiting the formal statement of the 27th IB on what it alleges to be a school maintained by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the barangay.  Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander alleged that the school presents itself as an IP school but espouses teachings against the government.


In addition, the community schools and Lumad schools within the area did not receive any notices from DepEd regarding the conduct of investigation while the military still continues to threaten the school and the community.


“We strongly condemn the action of DepEd South Cotabato that plans to rely on the report of the army as if abandoning their function to ensure the right of children to education.  DepEd must not give or abandon its primary function in the education sector to the army,” solons ended. ###

SOS SouthCot PR

Privilege Speech of Rep. France Castro, 2 October 2017

Privilege Speech
Rep. France Castro, ACT Teachers
October 2, 2017

[Video here]

PS October 5

Ginoong Speaker at mga kapwa ko kinatawan, magandang hapon.

Ang darating na Huwebes, October 5, ay National Teachers’ Day. Para sa sektor na aking pinanggalingan at pinagsisilbihan, higit sa araw ng pagdiriwang, ito ay araw ng paniningil at protesta.

Minamarkahan ang October 5 dahil sa ito araw ng adoption o paglagda sa Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers noong 1966 ng International Labor Organization at United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization o ILO-UNESCO. Ito ay makasaysayang dokumento dahil nilalaman nito ang mga internasyunal na pamantayan para sa nakabubuhay na sahod at benepisyo para sa mga guro; makataong kundisyon sa empleyo, trabaho, at pagtuturo; partisipasyon ng mga guro sa pormulasyon at implementasyon ng mga polisiya at batas na may epekto sa kanila at sa kanilang propesyon; at iba pa. Nakasaad dito ang mga rekomendasyon upang kilalanin, igalang, at proteksyunan ng mga gubyerno ang mga karapatan ng mga nasa propesyon, sa publiko o pribado mang sektor. Lahat ng ito ay bahagi ng karapatan ng mamamayan sa edukasyon na siyang dapat protektahan ng pamahalaan.

Sa ganitong konteksto nakalatag ang aming komemorasyon ng National Teachers’ Day. Para sa amin, walang saysay ang anumang pagbati kung walang makatotohanang pagkilala ang pamahalaan sa esensya at direksyon ng 1966 Recommendation. At bilang isang guro na nagsilbi ng halos tatlumpung taon, ako po ay taos-pusong naninindigan kasama ang mga guro upang ipaglagban ang esensyang ito.

Mr. Speaker, noong nakaraang taon, kasama ang mga guro sa mga naniwala sa mga pangako ni Pangulong Duterte at kanyang bagong administrasyon na itataas niya ng suweldo hindi lang ng pulis at sundalo pati rin ang sahod ng mga titser, na wawakasan niya ang endo at kontraktwalisasyon, na ibababa niya ang income tax at maglalatag ng progressive na sistema ng pagbubuwis, na kabilang sa mga prayoridad niya ang edukasyon, kalusugan, at iba pang batayang serbisyo para sa mga mamamayan, at iba pa.

Ngunit ngayon, pagkalipas ng higit isang taon, kasama rin ang mga guro sa mga binigo ng Pangulo sa pagbali niya ng mga pangakong ito. Nananatiling “drawing” ang pangakong salary increase, at sa halip ay pinagpapatuloy lamang ang barya-baryang umento sa ilalim ng Salary Standardization Law 4 ng administrasyong Aquino. Nagpapatuloy ang kontraktwalisasyon, at sa halip ay palalalain at mai-institutionalize pa sa pribado at pampublikong sektor, sa ilalim ng mga pinalabas na mga circular at department order ng DBM, DepEd, CSC, DILG, at DOLE. Walang dagdag na benepisyo—sa halip ay binawasan pa nga ang mga inaasahang local allowances ng mga guro at babawasan pa ang Performance-Based Bonus ng lahat ng mga kawani sa pamahalaan. Mataas pa rin ang income tax—sa halip ay tinali ang pagbibigay nito sa mga bago at pabigat na excise tax sa produkto ng langis at sugar-sweetened beverages pati na rin ang mas malawak na VAT. Paparating na ang TRAIN na ibabangga ng administrasyong Duterte sa mamamayan, lalo na sa mga mahihirap. Ramdam na ramdam po ng ating mga kaguruan, mga kawani, at mga mamamayan ang impact o epekto ng halos tatlong buwan na pagtaas ng presyo ng gasolina na siyang may domino effect sa mga presyo ng mga bilihin at ating mga serbisyo.
Ngayon, nagpapatuloy ang mga neoliberal na atake sa edukasyon, kalusugan, at batayang serbisyo. Sunod-sunod ang pagpasa ng Kongresong ito ng mga panukalang batas na magpapalubog lalo sa mga mamamayan sa kahirapan at maglalayo sa kanila mula sa kanilang karapatan sa edukasyon, kalusugan, at iba pa gaya, ng naturingang Universal Health Care at National ID System bills. Pinalala rin ang mga giyera laban sa mamamayan—mga giyerang kontra-droga at kontra-terorista diumano pero pumapatay kahit sa mga inosenteng kabataan gaya nila Kian de los Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, at Obillo Bay-ao at tumatarget sa mga eskwelahan, guro, at estudyante ng mga kapatid nating Lumad at Moro sa Mindanao. Gumagastos ng P323,000 kada bomba upang wasakin ang mga paaralan imbis na suportahan at payabungin pa ang mga ito.

Kapapasa rin ng House na ito ang panukalang 2018 budget na komprehensibong naglalaman ng mga neoliberal at pasistang palisyang ito—at komprehensibo ring lalabag sa mga karapatan ng mga mamamayan. Hindi inaprubahan ang mga panukala naming amyenda gaya ng mas mataas na MOOE, pondo para sa Special Hardship Allowance, libreng medical examination, chalk allowance, at lump sum para sa promotion.

Sa nakaraang taon, pinagpapatuloy ang mga anti-gurong polisiya ng DepEd gaya ng pabigat na Daily Lesson Log. Hindi rin natin nakitaan ang ahensya ng pagtindig upang suportahan ang mga laban ng mga guro at iba pang mga kawani—mula sa salary increase at pagbibigay ng sapat na MOOE para sa mga operasyon ng mga eskwelahan kabilang na ang mga non-monetary benefits sa ilalim ng nilagdaan ng DepEd na Collective Negotiation Agreements kasama ang tatlong regional unions ng mga guro, hanggang sa pagkondena sa pagbobomba sa mga paaralan at komunidad ng mga Lumad at Moro.

Masahol din ang kalagayan ng mga guro sa mga pribadong eskwelahan, dahil kasama sila sa nananawagan upang itaas ng sahod—P750 kada araw para sa pribadong sektor—at wakasan ang kontraktwalisasyon. Marami rin sa kanila ang biktima ngayon ng kapabayaan nang ipinatupad ng gubyerno ang K to 12 nang walang sapat na paghahanda upang protektahan ang mga mawawalan ng trabaho at mabawasan ng suweldo.

Mr. Speaker, mga kapwa ko mambabatas, ito ang kinakaharap ng mga guro sa ngayon—mga kondisyong taliwas sa ipinapanawagan ng 1966 ILO-UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers. Ito rin ang mga kondisyong lalong magpapaalab sa diskuntento at galit ng mga guro. Dahil sa mga kundisyong ito, lumalabas na tinatalikuran ni Pangulong Duterte ang esensya ng National Teachers’ Day dahil sinasasawalang bahala niya ang kapakanan, kagalingan, at karapatan ng mga guro bilang isang propesyon, bilang pangunahing tagapaghatid ng edukasyon, at bahagi ng lipunang Pilipino.

Pinaglaban ng mga guro at pinasa—sa pamamagitan ng ACT Teachers Party-List—ang isang batas na nagtatakda sa October 5 bilang araw ng komemorasyon sa National Teachers’ Day at pagdiin sa gubyerno upang tuparin ang esensya nito. Sinasalamin ng National Teachers’ Day ang kahilingan ng mga guro na kilalanin naman ng pamahalaan ang kanilang mga karapatan sa nakabubuhay na sahod at iba pang economic and labor rights, at isapatupad at pondohan ng sapat ang mga batas at kasunduang CNA na ipinapangako ang mga karapatang ito.

Sa pamamagitan ng sama-samang pagkilos, matagal nang nilulunsad ng aming sektor ang komemorasyon ng World Teachers’ Day. Sa sama-samang pagkilos din napagtagumpayan ang pagsasabatas ng isang National Teachers’ Day Law, gaya ng iba pang napagtagumpayan naming laban sa mga isyu ng suweldo noong mga nakaraang dekada, GSIS, chalk allowance, karapatan sa pag-uunyon at collective negotiation for better working conditions, at iba pa. Bilang isang sektor ay ibinahagi ng kaguruan ang kanilang mga ambag sa pagsulong ng mga kampanyang masa ng sambayanang Pilipino laban sa pork barrel at korapsyon, at iba pa.
Hindi pa buo ang mga tagumpay na ito, at nahaharap pa nga sa papatinding laban ang sektor ng edukasyon at mamamayan, kaya sa sama-samang pagkilos din ay isusulong ng mga guro, sa darating na October 5, ang isang malawakan at pambansang protesta upang ipanawagan at ipaglaban ang salary increase at ibang mga ekonomiko at pulitikal na hinaing ng edukasyon. Ngayong darating na October 5, hindi nanghihingi ng simpleng pagbati ng “Happy National Teachers’ Day” ang mga guro mula sa pangulo. Mas lalong hindi sila nanghihingi ng panibagong matatamis na pangako. Para sa amin, sa mamamayang Pilipino, hindi bababa sa solidong komitment at maka-gurong tindig ula sa Pangulo ang aming hiling:

Suweldo itaas! P25,000 minimum para sa mga guro at P16,000 para sa mga kawani!
Income tax ibaba! No to new excise taxes and expanded VAT!
Stop killing our youth!
Lift martial law in Mindanao!