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[ 22 Mar 2017 | No Comment ]
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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the eviction notice of the National Housing Authority (NHA) against informal settler families (ISFs) who occupied idle government housing units in Pandi and other areas in Bulacan.
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“We strongly support the fight of the Kadamay occupants for their right to shelter,” said Tinio.  “They are only some of the 5 million ISFs nationwide who are victims of the dismal state of poverty, joblessness and homelessness in our country.  These factors, coupled with government’s failed privatization-led housing program and demolitions of urban poor communities to favor development projects of foreign and local businesses, forced our urban poor to assert their rights by occupying idle housing units.”

“The eviction notice is a narrowly legalistic solution to the underlying problems highlighted by the Occupy Bulacan campaign,” added Castro.  “We urge the NHA and the Duterte administration to recognize the right to housing of the Kadamay occupants, begin the process of awarding to them the units instead of evicting them.  This way, government can assure them decent housing and at the same time, ensure that the public funds spent building the units are not wasted.”

Citing data from the Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP), Castro said that 1,279 cases of demolitions from January 2012 to December 2016 displaced around 250,000 families and 1.2 million individuals.

The solons added that government should also immediately distribute publicly built but idle housing units in other sites nationwide to beneficiaries, especially the urban poor, as a measure to reduce the housing backlog in the country.

Concerned agencies should also provide services like water, sanitation and electricity to idle units, including those in Bulacan.  Lastly, the solons warned not to resort to any violent actions against the occupants, whether to evict or harass them, and called for the immediate pull-out of units of the Philippine National Police from the areas. ###

Activities »

[ 17 Mar 2017 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

17 March 2017

References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro

 

ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the indiscriminate bombing by the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Malibcong, Abra yesterday.

 

Solons decried the brutality of the means used and the clearly intentional unconscionable damage caused by the military. According to reports from human rights monitor Karapatan and the Mabaka Banao Gubang Tribal Organization (MaBaGu) in Malibcong, four fighter planes of the AFP dropped at least eight bombs in Barangay Lat-ey in Bangilo early yesterday, endangering civilians and damaging farms and forests.  No less than 14 reported explosions affected the uma or swidden farms of the Tingguians belonging to the Mabaka, Banao and Gubang tribes.

 

“By using air strikes, the AFP treats the entire community as a single military target instead of clearly distinguishing military objectives or targets from civilians and attacking only the former. They harmed at least 56 families including close to 200 children and their livelihood,” said Tinio. “These acts are blatant violations of international humanitarian law due to their massive damages to civilian communities.”

 

“Civilian life was disrupted and the right to education of children in the targeted communities is being trampled upon as the operations of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the AFP headed by Lt. Col. Dominic Baluga in the area led to the suspension of classes since Monday,” Castro said. “This is far from the peaceful Philippines that the President Duterte kept on promising us. His administration’s deceptively named Oplan Kapayapaan turns out to be a military counter-insurgency program that allows brutal means like air strikes.”

 

“We hold President Duterte directly responsible for the suffering inflicted on civilians by the air strikes—especially as the commander-in-chief who ordered the AFP to ‘flatten the hills’. It is an utterly inhumane policy to let civilians be collateral damage and just say ‘pasensya’. Oplan Kapayapaan must be scrapped and all militaristic pacification of social unrest ended,” said the solons. ###

 

stop state fascism

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[ 14 Mar 2017 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the continuing harassment and forcible reconcentration of the Armed Forces in the Philippines (AFP) of 200 residents in four sitios in Nasugbu, Batangas.

 
According to reports, troops herded farmers off their lands and communities to Balagbag Elementary School last March 8. A clash occured between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force, the 59th Infantry Battalion and the 202nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army after two days. The residents were then told to go back to their homes, but the military troops remained in the school.

 
“We demand the AFP to stop their military operations in communities and endangering civilians. Military units should be accountable for inhuman tactics like the reconcentration of entire communities and encampment of civilian buildings like schools,” Castro said. “These inhuman tactics are violations of international humanitarian laws that cut off the livelihood of the residents and treat civilians as combatants. These harassments in communities must stop at once, along with the all-out war and the illegal arrests and other rights violations against farmers and activists perpetrated under the so-called Oplan Kapayapaan.”

 
“We call on the military and the Duterte administration to comply with the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL),” Tinio said. “There have been too many killings by the state against the poor. The killings and threats against farmers and human rights activists are blatant disrespect for human rights,” Tinio ended.###

Activities »

[ 7 Mar 2017 | No Comment ]

 

Privilege Speech of ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro on the International Women’s Day | 06 March 2017

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a question of personal and collective privilege as I ask each and every one – natatamasa na ba ng bawat babae at mamamayang Pilipino ang kanyang mga sosyal, ekonomiko at sibil na karapatan?

Mahigit isang siglo na po ang nakaraan mula nang tuminding para sa kanilang mga pundamental na karapatan ang mga kababaihang sosyalista sa Amerika. Ngayong taon na ating gugunitain ang International Women’s Day ay nagpapatuloy pa rin ang pakikibaka ng mga kababaihan para sa trabaho, nakabubuhay na sahod, ligtas na kondisyon ng paggawa, hustisyang panlipunan at ang paglaya ng mga kababaihan sa lahat ng uri at porma ng opresyon, karahasan at pananamantala.

Mula noon hanggang ngayon, ang buwan at ang Araw ng mga Kababaihan ay paggunita sa nananatiling umaalab na laban sa patriyarkiya at imperialistang matindi ang pagpapahirap sa atin.

Mr. Speaker, I am a mother of two children, who has raised my family working as a high-school mathematics teacher for 25 years. Alam ko po ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga manggagawang ina. Sa kabila ng mga konstitusyonal na probisyon, mga batas, at iba’t ibang regulasyon ay nanatiling bulnerable ang kababaihan sa kanyang araw-araw na pagbabanat ng buto.

Section 14, Article II of the 1987 Constitution mandates the State to recognize “the role of women in nation-building” and to “ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.” Napakaganda po ng probisyong ito ngunit nakakalungkot na nanatiling laganap pa rin ang diskriminasyon sa pag-eempleyo.

Hindi pa rin nasusunod ng gobyerno ang iniaatas ng Konstitusyon ayon sa Sections 11 and 14, Article XIII na pagtiyak sa kaligtasan at pangangalaga sa kalusugan ng mga kababaihang manggagawa. Kalunos-lunos ang hinaharap ng mga kababaihang manggagawa. Kabilang na rito ang mga kawani. Women government employees are currently allowed to avail only 60 days paid maternity leave, normal delivery or cesarean. The government preferred to fund PhilHealth and privatize hospitals rather than to subsidize their operations to actually provide accessible health care.

What’s even more bothering is the lack of job security of almost 600,000 government employees classified as job order/contract of service employees. These are our daughters, sisters and mothers who are deprived of benefits and are continuously facing the uncertainty of whether or not they can provide food on the table after every “end of contract.”

Mr. Speaker, hindi na nga po tumataas ang sweldo ay nagbabawas pa ng benepisyo ang kasalukuyang gobyerno. Sa bisa ng Joint Circular No. 1 s. 2017 na pinirmahan ng DBM, DepEd at DILG ay inalis na sa gastusin ng Special Education Fund ang pagbabayad ng local allowance ng mga guro sa buong kapuluan. Ang mawawalang Php 1000 – 3000 na lokal alawans ay magiging kabawasan sa pinaggagastos ng mga guro upang punan ang mga pangangailangan sa classroom tulad ng chalk, erasers at iba pang materyales na hindi napopondohan ng pamahalaan. Higit na magiging mahirap ang pagbabadyet ng mga gurong ina para sa pangaraw-araw na bilihin at pambaon ng kanilang mga anak.

Change is coming. — Yan po ang inaabangan nating lahat, ang mga makabuluhan at makabayang pagbabagong pinangako ng Pangulo. However, eight months into his presidency, there are still no concrete steps to address the fundamental problems of the country such as chronic poverty caused by widespread landlessness, joblessness, foreign control on our economy and corrupt officials. The 2017 national budget reflects the continuation of anti-poor neoliberal policies that deprives Filipino mothers and their children access to quality social services such as education, housing and health care.

Ang K-12 na nagpapahirap sa bawat maralitang ina ay nagpapatuloy pa rin ang implementasyon nang may hindi sumasapat na badyet. Ang ipinangakong pagtaas ng SSS pension para sa ating mga lolo at lola ay ginawang 1,000 na lamang at may kapalit pang pagtaas ng premium. Hindi na po tayo magtataka kung bakit marami sa ating mga kababayan, kabilang na ang ilang mga guro ang lubog sa utang at pinagsasamantalahan ng mga loan sharks dahil sa kahirapan sa pagbabayad ng ‘di makatarungang interes. Ilang mga guro na rin ang nakulong at kung maaalala po natin, dalawang Pangasinan National High School teachers ang pinagbabaril noong 2014 dahil lamang hindi makabayad. Patunay po ang mga ganitong insidente na HINDI OVERPAID ANG MGA GURO gaya ng sinasabi ng ating kasalukuyang DepEd Secretary Liling Briones.

Alongside these anti-poor economic schemes and policies, we have a climate of violence caused by abuses of the police and military in the name of the administration’s “war on drugs” which already caused 7,000 fatalities, mostly, if not all coming from the impoverished sectors of our society. Ilan pa bang mga ina ang mawawalan ng anak?

Mr. Speaker, maliban dito ay patuloy rin ang represyong politikal at paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Maraming mga kababaihan ang bilanggong pulitikal tulad na lamang ni Amelia Pond na guro sa isang Lumad school. Matapos sampahan ng mga gawa-gawang kaso, siya ngayon ay nakapiit at may mga malubhang karamdaman. Maliban kay Pond, apatnapu’t lima pang kababaihan ang kasalukuyang detinidong politikal. Kaliwa’t kanan din ang pandarahas ng militar sa mga pamayanang pinaghihinalaang rebelde. Ang mga ina at mga bata ang panunahing biktima dito.

The halt of the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines had placed into uncertainty the advances we’ve witnessed in drafting Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms o CASER which seeks to address the roots of armed conflict. It contains provisions on poverty, working conditions, social services and other democratic rights such as gender equality. Women believe that peace is not just the absence of war. What we want is peace rooted on social justice where the majority of the Filipino people are not exploited for the benefit of the few, even foreign imperialists.

Bagamat nakamit na ang right to suffrage at iba pang mga politikal na karapatan ng mga kababaihan sa loob ng isang siglong pakikibaka, hindi pa rin tunay na malaya ang mga kababaihan hangga’t nanatiling lugmok sa kahirapan ang mga kababaihang magsasaka at mangagagawa na kalakhan ng ating populasyon dahil sa malakolonyal at malapyudal na sistemang panlipunan ng ating bansa. Marami pang dapat gawin at malayo pa ang ating mararating.

As teachers, I know that we can take on this great task at hand, to mold the minds of the youth, to raise awareness, organize and mobilize the people in forwarding their democratic rights. All women workers must remain hopeful as well. Naniniwala po tayo sa kasabihang, “A woman’s place is in the struggle.” As the founding president of ACT-NCR, the biggest union of teachers in the public sector in the Philippines, I believe that women workers can NOT ONLY fight for gender equality but more so, we are instruments in forging the REAL change we want to see, a society where justice and peace shall prevail for all Filipinos.

Mapagpalayang Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kababaihan!

Maraming salamat at magandang hapon sa ating lahat. ###