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[ 24 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Party-List Antonio Tinio and France Castro on the President’s Threats to Bomb lumad schools ]
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The President in his post-SONA press conference said, “yung mga eskwelahan lang ng mga Lumad, they are operating without the Department of Education’s permit kasi sa eskwelahan nila they are teaching subversion, communism, lahat na. So umalis kayo dyan, bobombahan ko yan. Isali ko yang mga istruktura ninyo. I will use the Armed Forces, the Philippine Air Force.”
This statement amounts to an order to continue the military’s branding of innocents and the institutions nurturing them as rebels.  It is an order for the AFP to target civilians as rebels, and to intensify the militarization of their communities, the threats, intimidation, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and charging of trumped-up cases against students, teachers and tribal leaders, and the encampment and destruction by the military of schools.  It is more ominous since it comes from the commander-in-chief of the AFP and Lumad communities are now under fire with martial law.
We condemn this as a clear red-tagging on a large scale and endorsement of violence and murder against indigenous peoples. The President accused Lumad schools of training children to be rebels, when some of them have long been operating with DepEd recognition.  The applications of many are being denied as part of the systematic attack against indigenous peoples which the President is now openly advocating.
Schools of indigenous peoples and community learning centers such as those for the Lumad in Mindanao are established and maintained by people’s organizations and members of the local communities themselves due to the absence of public schools offering free education in their areas.  They are also part of indigenous peoples’ assertion of their right to self-determination.  President Duterte should encourage and protect them instead of targeting them as “enemies of the state.”
We demand that the President retract his statement.  We demand justice for all victims of militarization of communities, including the thousands of bakwits due to martial law.  We demand that he order the military to pull out of civilian communities and end all forms of attacks against Lumad schools and people’s organizations.  We demand an immediate end to martial law.

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[ 10 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on the proposed extension of martial law in Mindanao to 2022: ]

It’s an appalling prospect but not unexpected, especially since the recent Supreme Court ruling has enabled the virtually unfettered exercise of the President’s martial law power.

It’s becoming more evident that the Marawi crisis was merely the pretext, but the Duterte regime’s plan all along is to place all of Mindanao under permanent martial rule. Pres. Duterte and his allies are keen to implement big infrastructure and agribusiness investments Mindanao, funded mainly by China, that will face opposition from poor farmers, lumad, and Moro who will inevitably face displacement and exclusion. His administration is turning towards more repressive tools, such as martial law, in the hope of suppressing the resistance of the poor and marginalized so that these big ticket projects will push through.

However, the Duterte administration seems to be ignoring the lesson of history, that martial law will not bring peace but only further violence to the people of Mindanao.###

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[ 10 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on New circular to allow more endo in government -solons ]
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro slammed the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Commission on Audit (COA), and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for issuing a circular that allows government agencies to hire personnel on Contracts of Service (COS) and Job Orders (JOs) instead of ending contractualization in the public sector.
The three agencies issued Joint Circular # 1, entitled ‘Rules and Regulations Governing Contracts of Service and Job Order Workers in the Government,’ dated June 15, 2017.
“It is about time that CSC, COA and DBM release guidelines governing contracts of service and job orders in government after their silence allowed the number of JO and COS workers to balloon to up to 595,162 as of July 2016, making government the biggest user of endo workers. However, instead of ending endo in government, the circular further allows government agencies to hire personnel on COSs and JOs until end of 2018,” Tinio said.
“Along with his campaign promise to end contractualization in the private sector, the prospect of ending contractualization in the public sector is now far-fetched with the guidelines. In the circular, there is no commitment on the part of DBM that it will create new positions that will give COS and JO workers regular positions. Instead, the said circular contains loopholes that will pave the way for government agencies to continue hiring COS and JO workers even for regular functions and duties of the agency,” Castro said.  “This will only lengthen the suffering of workers who are deprived of job security, decent salaries, and benefits.”
One loophole is Provision 7.1 that permits hiring through COS if it is “impractical or more expensive for the government agency to directly undertake the service provided by the individual or institutional contractor” and for “support services” such as “janitorial, security, driving, data encoding, equipment and grounds maintenance and other services that support the day to day operations of the agency.”
Another is Provision 7.2 that allows agencies to hire JOs for “emergency or intermittent work,…and manual tasks such as carpentry, plumbing, painting, electrical, and the like which are not part of the regular functions of the agency.”
“In experience and also because of the lack of sufficient number of items for regular positions, these loopholes are already used as excuse to hire COS and JO personnel for vital and day-to-day functions, such as Department of Social Welfare and Development’s staff implementing the 4Ps, ’emergency instructors’ in state universities and colleges, data encoders in the Philippine Statistics Authority and various divisions in government offices, and cleaning and maintenance staff. Of course, it will always be ‘too expensive’ for the government to create permanent positions for these, and cheaper to just use janitorial, security, and other agency-provided personnel rather than provide for their regular salaries and benefits,” Castro added.
The solons also noted that the joint circular encourages widespread government personnel outsourcing via “institutional contract of service” or contracts between government agencies and contractors or service providers for janitorial, security, consultancy, and other support services.
“Job security and decent wages are the number one cry of the Filipino people. We call on the Duterte administration to fulfill his promise to end contractualization. We urge CSC, COA and DBM to amend the joint circular to ensure that the guidelines will really end endo rather than assure its continued proliferation,” Tinio ended.”###

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[ 8 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on Include salary increases in 2018 budget – solons ]

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro are concerned that salary increases for teachers and other government workers are not included in the proposed 2018 budget. Both solons urged President Duterte to make good his earlier pronouncements by including substantial pay hikes.

“The Philippine Development Plan for 2017-2022 is silent as to salary increases for government personnel, majority of whom are teachers and non-teaching staff. Two secretaries, including secretary Diokno who heads the Development Budget Coordination Committee which drafted the 2018 proposed budget, opposed pay hikes in government. This would mean that pay hikes in government are less likely to be found,” Castro said. “Despite this, salary increase for teachers and other government employees is one of the very first things that we will look for and pursue in President Duterte’s SONA and budget proposal.”

“This would be the first budget proposal that the Duterte administration created from scratch. With a P3.8T budget proposal and the Department of Education having the highest allocation, the Duterte administration is more than capable of providing teachers and other rank-and-file personnel significant change in their salaries instead of the loose change that they receive with EO 201 of the previous administration. If he remains true to his earlier pronouncements, that is,” Tinio said. “We reiterate our demand for P25,000 for Teacher 1 and P16,000 as minimum salary in government.”

“We maintain our support for the just and resounding call of teachers, non-teaching employees and other government workers for salary increase and benefits that would help them live decent lives,” Castro added.

Diokno during the 2017 budget deliberation said that substantial salary increases demanded by teachers are “too ambitious” while Briones recently claimed that teachers are “not underpaid.”

On the other hand, President Duterte in a speech last July 28, 2016 said that salary increase for teachers will be next after giving pay hikes for the military and police. “Itong increase of salaries, ang sunod ko mga teachers,” he promised.

“With today’s rising prices of basic goods and services, they need more than what we are giving them now,” Tinio added. The DBM is so quick and agressive in pushing for new taxes yet brands just demand for substantial salary increases as ‘too ambitious’.”

The solons joined protest action today in front of the Department of Education let by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers to demand for salary increase.

“We will continue to support and fight with the teachers and other government workers in their struggle for salary increase. We call on all teachers and government workers to unite and fight for their right for sufficient salaries and benefits in the coming State of the Nation Address of President Duterte,” Castro ended.###