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Not even a supertyphoon can stop her from teaching.
When Ma’am Maria Luz Buclatan reached out, after surviving Yolanda, through the survivors page of online news network Rappler, her only wish was to return to her students at Commonwealth Elementary School, QC. The disaster left her with neither opportunity nor means to get back by C-130 or commercial plane.
ACT Teachers national and local staff quickly got in touch with the maestra, and arranged for her to be able to leave Tacloban as soon as her brother’s condition enables them to travel. He was hospitalized due to an accident after the typhoon.
Maestra Maria Luz, 59, is a Teacher III with 23 years of teaching in her belt. Also a Girl Scout District Coordinator, she was in Dulag on family matters when Typhoon Yolanda struck the provinces of Leyte and Samar.
Our deepest thanks to Rappler. (Here’s how you can help bridge the gap between someone searching for their family in the affected areas or a survivor trying to reach out.)
BALSA ACT also continues its relief efforts, both at the National Headquarters of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Vasra, Q.C., and at our Teachers’ Building at Tacloban, which now functions as center of relief efforts for Eastern Visayas by ACT and local progressive organizations. Regional coordinator, Dr. Efleda Bautista, herself a Yolanda survivor, oversees operations there.
BALSA ACT, with the networks of Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA), Tulong Kabataan, Citizens Disaster Response Center, and other organizations, has released directly to the ravaged towns of Samar, Leyte, Cebu, and other areas around 1,000 food packs as well as mission, including medical teams, to aid in the relief effort. ###
By: Rachel C. Barawid, Sara Grace C. Fojas, Ronald S. Lim and Ina Hernando-Malipot
“Hindi natapos ‘yung role ko as a teacher. Kahit tumigil ako ng pagtuturo sa mga eskuwelahan eh nagpapatuloy pa rin ang ‘pag gampan ko sa papel bilang guro.”
(Photo credit: KJ Rosales and Manila Bulletin)
Every day, we hear stories of teachers sacrificing and risking their lives for their students, and even going beyond their duty in the classroom to quietly serve their communities.
Indeed, teaching is the noblest of professions. Certainly, behind every doctor, engineer, lawyer, architect, journalist, public official, and world leader is a brilliant teacher who continues to shape future generations with passion and dedication.
In the country though, we seldom hear of teachers being appreciated and justly compensated for their hard work and immeasurable contributions. But thanks to efforts being initiated by teacher groups such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party-List, the plight and needs of the Filipino teachers are slowly being addressed.
At the forefront of championing teachers’ rights and welfare is ACT Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio. A former instructor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature and at the Department of Filipino of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Tinio knows too well the predicament of public school teachers and the state of the Philippine education system.
Even before he became a public official, Tinio has already been advocating for the rights and needs of teachers and education workers as well as for the people’s right to quality public education. In 1994, he helped establish the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, a national organization committed to the struggle for genuine sovereignty and democracy in the Philippines. Later, he served as National Campaign coordinator and chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the largest non-traditional organization of teachers and education workers in the country.
Tinio was among those instrumental in the increase of teachers’ salaries by P9,000, and in pushing for greater government subsidies for education. In Congress, he continues to serve as the voice of the teachers — filing bills and resolutions for their promotion and protection, including substantial salary increases and adequate benefits, refund of illegal deductions made by the Government Service Insurance System, and their regularization, among others.
While majority of his programs and bills are on education, the solon is just as passionate in fighting for corruption and pushing for national reforms. Tinio brings an educator’s perspective in the House Committees on Agrarian Reform, Appropriations, Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Foreign Affairs, Government Enterprises and Privatization, Government Reorganization, Information and Communications Technology, Public Information Rules, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, and Women and Gender Equality.
In this 60 Minutes interview, we didn’t only get to hear Congressman Tinio’s apprehensions about the K to 12 Law and his stand on the many issues and challenges in the education sector, but we also saw how he has become the teachers’ shining symbol of hope and inspiration.
Read the full feature article from the Manila Bulletin here.
To all ACT Teachers and Alliance of Concerned Teachers members and concerned citizens,
Our Yolanda-stricken kababayans are in dire need of the following items: rice, cooking oil, salt, sugar, mongo, dried fish, biscuits, and sardines. You can drop them at the National Headquarters of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Mines cor. Dipolog Streets, Barangay Vasra, Quezon City (4539116 or 4262238). For pick-up of donations, please contact Zeni (09174998608 09198198903) or Kris (09155719601). Task Force BALSA ACT is also calling for volunteers to help with the repacking goods.
Waray bayaay ha aton mga kababayan! Damo nga salamat!
October 3, 2013
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)
No gift coming for World Teachers’ Day
Solon hits PNoy: P946 billion of pork but zero for pay hikes for teachers, civil servants
On the eve of World Teachers’ Day, a militant solon slammed President Aquino’s indifference to the demand for salary increases of public school teachers and other state workers.
“The President hangs pork barrel funds, but for the just demands of public school teachers and other government employees, he gives nothing,” said ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio. “Nagbigay siya ng zero para sa umento sa sahod ng mga guro at kawani, samantalang higit sa P946 bilyon ang inilaan niya para may maipapamudmod siya sa mga pulitiko.”
With the continuation of depressed wages amid billions of public funds set aside for patronage, Tinio says that Aquino has earned the ire especially of public school teachers, who comprise one-third of the total bureaucracy.
In fact, Tinio promised, Aquino can count on hordes of angry teachers who will be spending an early World Teachers’ Day on the streets tomorrow. ”Sisingilin nila ang Presidente at mga alipores nito sa ginagawa nilang pandarambong sa pondo ng bayan, na dapat sana’y inilalaan sa dagdag na sahod at benepisyo para sa mga guro at kawani.”
World Teachers’ Day is celebrated every October 5 to commemorate the adoption in 1966 of the UNESCO-ILO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers, a landmark document recognizing the duty of states to promote and protect teachers’ rights to adequate remuneration, among others.
Tinio estimates that, out of the entire 2014 budget, Aquino set aside P946 billion of lump sum funds subject to his sole discretion. The 2014 General Appropriations Bill was passed on second reading early morning last Saturday without a single cent removed from funds identified as Presidential pork, such as Special Purpose and Unprogrammed Funds.
Tinio noted early in the budget deliberations that Aquino’s proposal for 2014 does not provide for salary increases for government employees. Budget Secretary Butch Abad replied that the administration will still study if it is the “appropriate time” to give another round of salary hikes, adding that this “would entail a huge amount of money.”
Tinio countered that according to his rough estimates, the demand for pay increases is tiny compared to Aquino’s P964 billion pork.
“For example, increasing teachers’ minimum pay will cost government at least P5 billion more—an additional amount that will barely make a dent in PNoy’s pork.”
Teachers demand a starting monthly salary of P25,000 (from P18,549) while non-teaching personnel want P15,000 for those in Salary Grade 1 (P9,000), with corresponding hikes for higher grades. Tinio filed House Bill 245, An Act Increasing the Minimum Monthly Salaries of Public School Teachers to Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000) and Non-Teaching Personnel to Fifteen Thousand Pesos (P15,000), in answer to this demand.
Tinio also noted that teachers demand accounting and accountability for Aquino and his allies’ mangling of the national budgets laid by law since 2010, which led to the centralization then dissipation for political patronage of large chunks of funds appropriated by Congress.
In an earlier statement, Tinio condemned the Disbursement Acceleration Program—through which the administration pooled as savings unobligated funds in the middle of the year then realigned for programs not authorized by Congress—as “nothing less than the President arrogating unto himself the power of the purse. It is Presidential discretion over public funds gone wild.”
Tomorrow, October 4, ACT Teachers Party-List and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers will spend World Teachers’ Day with various unions and associations in a protest march from UST to Mendiola, starting at 9:30 am. They will later join the anti-pork barrel march at Ayala. ###