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[ 15 Dec 2016 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE
15 December 2016
Reference:  ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)

ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro lauded the willingness of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to sign a bilateral ceasefire deal.

Over the weekend, Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines expressed the willingness of the NDFP to sign with the GRP a bilateral ceasefire effective upon the release of political prisoners within 48 hours after the signing, as declared by President Duterte.

“Forcing a ceasefire deal before concrete commitments are fulfilled amounts to capitulation by the NDFP,” the solons said, pointing out that solid commitments such as releasing political prisoners prove the willingness to honor existing and future agreements.  “Our fellow Filipinos take up arms against the government not because they want to, but because there are long-standing issues such as widespread poverty and inequality in the country which government refuses to address.”

“This bilateral ceasefire deal between the NDFP and the GRP will hasten the talks for a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER). Reforms under CASER will tackle proposals that will address poverty, hunger, jobless growth, labor export, rural deprivation, homelessness, wealth disparity, and environmental deterioration,” Tinio said. “The resolution of these issues is what we in the education sector have also been struggling for.”

“In line with our fight for free education, health, and other social services as well as salary increases and benefits for teachers and other government employees and lower income taxes, we teachers urge the parties to propose and bind themselves to a pro-people CASER,” Castro said.

“The openness of both parties to sign a bilateral ceasefire shows the public the sincerity of both parties in the peace talks. We expect the GRP to fulfill its promise to release political prisoners within 48 hours from signing the ceasefire and to genuinely stop military operations like the Oplan Bayanihan,” Tinio added.

The solons have earlier called for the immediate release of more than 400 political prisoners, including Lumad teachers Amelia Pond and Dominciano Muya of Davao, volunteer teacher Rhea Pareja of Quezon, and Rene Boy Abiva, an organizer of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT)-Cagayan Valley chapter.

The third round of the peace talks will be held in January in Europe in the next year. ###

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[ 14 Dec 2016 | No Comment ]
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PRESS STATEMENT
14 December 2016
References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817) and Rep. France Castro (09209698457)
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ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro laud the inclusion in the 2017 budget of their proposed amendment to increase the cash allowance for public school teachers for teaching supplies, popularly known as the “chalk allowance.”
According to the Conference Committee Report on House Bill 3408 (FY 2017 General Appropriations Bill), the DepEd budget is given an additional P892 million “to provide funds for site development of public schools and additional P1,000 cash allowance to all teachers,” among other items.  The budget amendment will increase the chalk allowance to P2,500 from P1,500 beginning 2017.
The solons filed their proposed amendment to increase the chalk allowance in October 11 with the House Committee on Appropriations.  The bicameral budget panel hiked the increase to P2,500.
The solons have long been campaigning to increase the chalk allowance, which is granted to classroom teachers for the purchase of chalks, erasers, forms, and other classroom supplies and materials.  Due to the party-list’s annual proposed amendment to the national budget, the allowance increased to P1,000 from P700 in 2012, and then to P1,500 in 2015.
“This is a welcome increase, as it will ease the pain of all classroom teachers who pay for their teaching supplies and materials out of their own pockets,” said Castro, a former classroom teacher.  “This is only just since, because of the dismally insufficient funds for maintenance and other operating expenses in our public schools, the teachers themselves spend for supplies and materials which they use in their classrooms.”
Tinio also urged for the immediate passage of their House Bill 474, filed in June 30, which seeks to increase the chalk allowance to P5,000 per classroom teacher per school year.
“Our teachers demand a significant increase to P5,000 of chalk allowance, or P24.75 per school day,” said Tinio, using the rate of the chalk allowance for 202 school days in the current school year.  “We urge Congress to immediately launch deliberations on this bill, and approve it to give significant economic relief to our teachers who are left to augment inadequate government funds for our schools using their own money.” ###

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[ 11 Dec 2016 | No Comment ]
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PRESS RELEASE
10 December 2016
References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro together with the teachers, Lakbayanis from Visayas, and other sectors join the protests and commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. They attended the Peace Forum held at Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the immersion in the Kampuhan of the Lakbayanis in PUP. The contingent had a caravan from PUP to the Philippine Normal University (PNU) then to Liwasang Bonifacio and ended at Mendiola to call for the pressing issues on human rights.
“In solidarity with all the sectors who are advocates of human rights, we call on the Duterte government to respect the basic human rights of the people, including the demand of government employees—the bulk of whom are public school teachers—for decent salaries. We demand for urgent and substantial salary increases,” said Castro. “We urge the President to consider the present dire economic conditions of our teachers whose take-home pay is insufficient to meet the daily needs of their families. They end up taking out loans from Government Service Insurance System, banks, and worse, private lenders who bleed them out with usurious loans.” Read more…

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[ 9 Dec 2016 | One Comment ]
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PRESS RELEASE
09 December 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro (09209698457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative France Castro, together with teacher-leaders from the Visayas and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Deputy Sec. Gen. Mabelle Caboboy had a dialogue with the Department of Education (DepEd) Undersecretary for Legal and Legislative Affairs Alberto Muyot and Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Service (DRRMS) Ronilda Co with regard to the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) assistance given to teachers devastated by Yolanda and other natural calamities in the past three years.
Visayan teacher-leaders presented their issues and concerns regarding the Yolanda assistance fund including a petition from their region. The processing of the documents by the divisions and PMS had been extremely slow, thus delaying the assistance and leaving teachers heavily indebted. Since typhoon Yolanda, promised aid has yet to fully reach intended beneficiaries.
Said aid is sourced from the President’s Social Fund (PSF) to reimburse housing repair and reconstruction expenses of government employees in the affected regions including thousands of public school teachers and employees. The PSF is managed by the Presidential Management Staff, an office under the Office of the President. Read more…