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[ 17 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Party-List Antonio Tinio

Press conference, 17 August 2017

(Transcript)

 

On the trillion-peso Build, Build, Build Program vis a vis the lack of funds for housing in the 2018 budget:

 

Yung budget ng DPWH, and of course ang isang pinagmamalaking highlight ng budget na ito—itong first full budget ng Duterte administration ay yung infrastructure component, yung BBB, Build Build Build.  Ang tawag nga ni Secretary Villar ay “golden age of infrastructure”. Mahigit one-third ng P3.6 Trillion National Budget ay infrastructure. Of course, ang sinasabi nila para daw umunlad ang ekonomiya, para daw maka-akit ng foreign investors, ang hinahanap daw ng foreign investors ay yung magandang imprastraktura.
Ngayon, ang tanong naman natin, paano yung taumbayan, lalo na yung maralita? So, kung may mahigit isang P1 Trillion para sa export-oriented, foreign investment-oriented na infrastructure, nasaan ang infrastructure para sa bahay? Yan ang matagal na nating tinatanong. Kung titingnan natin ang budget ng NHA, P2.2 Billion ito, P1.6 Billion nito para sa PNP hpusing, tapos yung matitirang more or less P600 Million pesos, yun lang ang pondo para sa resettlement ng maralita.
Malaking bahagi or yung unang step sa mga bagong proyekto, sa big ticket infrastructure projects ng Duterte administration, ang unang hakbang ay ang pag-secure ng right of way. Ibig  sabihin kailangan malinaw yung lupa na dadaanan nung mga malalaking proyekto na ito. Kaya nga malaki yung pondo ng right of way ng DPWH, P58 Billion siya compared to around P18 Billion noong nakaraang taon. So yung right of way mainly pambayad sa mga private property owners para ma-secure  yung right of way sa project.

Inevitably, ang ibig sabihin ng right of way ay kailangang mag-demolish. So, inaalam natin sa DPWH kung gaano karaming mga pamilya, mga maralita ang apektado or will be affected by all these big ticket infrastructure at wala silang masagot. Basically, wala silang mabigay na figure.
Labag nga ito sa bagong Right of Way Law. Sa batas at sa bagong Implementing Rules nito, sinasabi na bago simulan ang proyekto, kailangan ipaalam na ng implememting agency, in this case DPWH yung bilang ng mga maapektuhang pamilya at kailangang mag-coordinate na sa HUDC para ma-budgetan para sa resettlement.

Ngunit malinaw na walang pondo dito. Actually, nanggaling kay Secretary Diokno nung una silang humarap dito sa Congress ang DBCC, ang sabi lang niya na yung pondo para sa right of way na yan, a portion of that ay pera para daw ibigay sa mga maralita para “tumabi na sila para matuloy ang proyekto.”  Those were his exact words. So mukhang hanggang dun lang, “patatabihin” o “lilinisin”—again, that was the word used by Sec. Diokno—“lilinisin” raw yung mga lugar para matuloy yung proyekto.  Tapos, wala namang proyekto para bigyan ng aktwal na pabahay yung mga maralitang maapektuhan dito.

So, yun yung isang tinututulan natin sa BBB, sa Build Build Build, sa golden age of infrastructure.  Infrastructure para kanino ito? At paano yun libu-libong pamilyang maralita na made-demolish, wala namang ibibigay ang gobyernong ito in terms of housing.

 

 

On human rights:

 

Kahapon kasama sa speech ni Pangulo yung atake na naman sa human rights tsaka sa mga nagtatanggol ng human rights. Paulit-ulit na ginagawang argumento ni Pang. Duterto yun.  Actually ang latest statement niya diba, “Kung mga human rights defenders or activists, barilin niyo na rin.”  Parang ganun.  Sa tingin natin ay kailangan hamunin at hindi palampasin paulit-ulit na [pahayag niya] kontra human rights.
Sinasabi na bakit pag may biktima ng krimen, pinatay, ni-rape, ay tahimik kayo pero kapag involved ang pulis o sundalo, diyan kayo magaling, diyan kayo lumalabas.  Pero ganun naman talaga ang set-up ng batas sa ilalim ng ating Konstitusyon, sa lipunan natin at kahit sa ibang mga bansa.  Kung sa mga krimen, nariyan ang batas, ang buong sistema ng gobyerno ay andiyan, so mayroon kang criminal law, mayroon kang law enforcers, mayroon kang mga korte.  Mayroon kang kulungan at ang buong sistema na yan na pinopondohan ng mga taxlayers ay andiyan para protektahan ang mga mamamayang biktima ng krimen.
Ngayon, yung human rights, yung sistema ng pagprotekta sa human rights, yung mga advocate ng human rights, andyan para bantayan yung mga dapat na nagpapatupad ng batas.  Lalo na yung mga armado, mga pulis at military. Kailangang andiyan yan para maprotektahana naman ang mamamayan na hindi sila mang-aabuso sa mamamayan. Dahil malaking problema kung yung mga inatasan at binigyan ng kapangyarihan ng lipunan at inarmasan ay mang-aabuso at mambibiktima na rin ng taong bayan.  Kaya andiyan ang sistema ng human rights para bantayan yung mga dapat na magtanggol sa karapatan ng mamamayan.  Paano kung sila na ngayon ang umaabuso sa karapatan ng mamamayan?  Unfortunately, hindi ba ganyan ang ang nangyayari ngayon? Kung may impunity, kung lahat palaging “nanlaban”?  Eh, di talagang delikado para sa lahat ng mamamayan ‘yan.
On the progressive cabinet members:

 

Nakita rin naman natin in the case of Gina Lopez—in the end ay pinabayaan siya ni Pangulong Duterte na basically ay pag-piyestahan ng mga pro-mining sa Kongreso mismo.  Ganun din sa kaso ni Sec. Judy, malinaw ang signal, lalo na dito sa House na pwede na, free for all.  Sa totoo lang, walang mabanggit na dahilan.  Alam naman natin ang totoong dahilan ay ang anti-pork stance ni Judy.  Siyempre hindi nila mabanggit ‘yun dahil unconstitutional.

Sa simula’t sapul pa lang, tutol na ang mga pro-landlord at mga aktwal na landlord dito sa House and I think malinaw naman ang desisyon ni Pang. Duterte dito na pinapaubaya na niya sa House yung mga left-leaning members ng kanyang gabinete.  In fact may mga naka-line up na para pumalit.

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[ 17 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE
17 August 2017

Duterte budget slashes funds for school building

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro revealed that the 2018 budget proposed by the Duterte administration slashed by P3.245 billion the school building programs of the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Department of Education.

The 2018 proposal sets P352 million for Construction/Repair/Rehabilitation/Improvement of School Buildings under the DPWH and P112.379 billion for the Basic Education Facilities Program under DepEd (P106.079 billion for construction, replacement, and completion of schools and classrooms and P6.3 billion for rehabilitation, renovation, and repair), or a total of only P112.731 billion.

These programs will suffer cuts of 71.6% for DPWH and 2.4% for DepEd from their current amounts. Under the 2017 General Appropriations Act, the DPWH has P1.239 billion while the DepEd has P114.737 billion (P109.313 billion for construction and P4.994 billion for rehabilitation, with additional P43 million for annual payments of school buildings constructed by the National Housing Authority). Total for the two agencies is P115.976 billion.

“Teachers and students in the field will profoundly feel the loss of this P3.245 billion worth of schools and classrooms. It will mean more congested rooms, more students pushed to hold classes in makeshift spaces even under trees,” lamented Castro. “We have said all along that government has failed, and continues to fail, to sufficiently provide for the requirements of K to 12 including schools and classrooms, especially for Grades 11 and 12.”

“The proposed budget sets P1.097 trillion for the Build, Build, Build program for roads and other infrastructure for BPOs, ecozones, tourist spots, and airports but there’s this fund slash for school and classroom building. President Duterte is drumbeating his ‘golden age of infrastructure’ but with this budget cut, it appears that school building figures very little in his grand plans and that education is taking a backseat,” ended Castro. “May golden age nga para sa mga dayuhan at lokal na kapitalistang mamumuhunan sa infrastructure pero mangangalawang naman ang sektor ng edukasyon.” ###

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[ 4 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Representative France Castro welcomes the signing of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education by President Duterte today.

“This law is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education,” said Castro. “Finally, we have a law that will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education.”

“We call on our fellow legislators to include the appropriate funding for the bill in the 2018 General Appropriations Act we are currently deliberating,” the solon ended. ###

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[ 3 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]
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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged President Duterte to sign the Universal Access to Free Higher Education bill into law, saying that it will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education. This, after Duterte’s economic managers urged him to veto the bill.

The approved bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education. “Its passage by Congress is a victory of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society whose collective action pushed for a law providing for free higher education and for government to fulfill its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels,” said the solons.

“We have already proven that government can provide funds to make free higher education possible when Congress allocated P8.3 Billion for free tuition in the 2017 budget,” Tinio said. “The President can now move forward and sign the bill approved by Congress, providing the Filipino youth their right to access tertiary education.”

The administration’s economic team, including budget secretary Benjamin Diokno, recommended a veto, saying that free tertiary education will have very little impact on the poor and society and that it will need P100 billion.

“We urge the President not to heed the wrong information of his advisers. In fact, tuition and other school fees are the main factors discouraging many Filipinos from going to college. Also, the 2018 projections of income from tuition and other fees is P13.2 Billion, according to the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, while CHED estimates that implementing the bill will only need around P34 Billion. Free college will therefore not cost P100 Billion, as Diokno alleges,” Castro countered.

“Any amount given to fund free higher education will be a worthwhile and long-term priority since it will contribute to the shaping of our youth and to nation building. Regular funding as ensured by a law for free tertiary education will make this possible,” Tinio ended. ###