25 FEBRUARY 2014–ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio today presented to the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms an unnumbered substitute bill for the Election Service Reform Act of 2014. This is the product of the Technical Working Group he headed to consolidate several bills including our House Bill 444. Members of the TWG included the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (through Secretary General Ms. France Castro) and the QC Public School Teachers Association (through President Dr. Priscilla Ampuan).
If enacted, the measure will lighten the burden of public school teachers who have long clamored for release from the often dangerous mandatory election service.
Salient provisions of the bill:
1. Section 4. Refusal from rendering election service on grounds such as health, age, or security concerns
2. Section 5. Honoraria of P6,000 for BEI Chair, P5,000 for BEI members, P4,000 for DepEd Supervisor, and P2,000 for support staff; travel allowance of P1,000; review of the amounts by COMELEC every 3 years
3. Section 6. Death benefis and medical assistance
4. Section 7. Legal assistance
5. Section 8. Indemnification
6. Section 9. Establishment and administration of a special trust fund for medical assistance, death benefits, legal assistance, and indemnification
The TWG will have another meeting to fine-tune a few provisions, after which the Committee will approve it to elevate it to the Lower House as a whole for approval on Second and Third Reading.
Click here to read the full text of the substitute bill for the Election Service Reform Act of 2014 (as of Feb. 24, 2014). ###
Bulacan State University’s part-time faculty far outnumber its regular faculty by 746 to nearly 200. While the ratio of full-timers to part-timers in all 110 state universities and colleges nationwide is 80% to 20%, the reverse holds true in BulSU. The non-tenured faculty are hired through “contracts of service” which declare the non-existence of an employer-employee relationship between them and the University (in other words, they are not government employees).
This translates to inadequate yet delayed salaries, lack of social security benefits such as GSIS, and a denial of full union rights, among others–despite the reality that the part-timers have the same teaching load as their regular counterparts. This goes on year in and year out, as they are rehired as part-timers, under the same contracts of service with the same terms and conditions. Benefits such as the 13th month pay previously granted by the University administration were disallowed by the Commission on Audit.
This sad plight of “permanent part-timers” exists, in varying degrees, in other SUCs throughout the country, due to the government’s decades-long policy of a freeze in the hiring of faculty in SUCs notwithstanding the annually increasing demand caused by higher enrollment. The past and current administrations choose to exploit thousands of professionals for their teaching services for the sake of “austerity” and greater reliance on privately-provided education.
Since its first term in Congress, ACT Teachers Party-List, through Rep. Tinio, has been struggling for the regularization of faculty in SUCs. Rep. Tinio filed HB 442, An Act Prohibiting the Hiring of Teachers in the Public Sector through Contracts of Service and Job Orders. He also succeeded, since 2012, in introducing a law mandating SUCs to give priority to qualified contractual and part-time faculty in hiring and filling up of new teaching items. He steadfastly argued, during budget deliberations, against the said freeze hiring and for the creation of sufficient new teaching items for SUCs, salary increases for teaching and non-teaching personnel, the abolition of presidential and congressional pork and the realignment of these funds to basic social services including education, and others.
In the coming weeks, and in advance of the budget deliberations of Congress, ACT Teachers, in cooperation with BulSU faculty and those in other SUCs, will be bringing these issues to the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Budget and Management, through dialogues with Chairperson Patricia Licuanan and Secretary Florencio Abad.
Click here for related bills:
Filed on July 17, 2013 and principally authored by Bayan Muna Rep. Neri J. Colmenares, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio, and Gabriela Women’s Party Reps. Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, Anakpawis Rep. Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap, Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.
From the Explanatory Note:
“The pork barrel system is a form of institutionalized patronage and officially tolerated graft and corruption. Contrary to claims…that more and better safeguards can be implemented to prevent abuse…the pork barrel is beyond salvaging and should be abolished.
x x x
“This bill aims to abolish the pork barrel system by prohibiting the President from providing a budgetary item or including in the proposed budget submitted to Congress every fiscal year any lump sum allocation to the PDAF and similar lump sum, discretionary funds. Aside from the legislators’ pork barrel, the bill shall also abolsih the President’s pork barrel funds, such as the President’s Social Fund and the Malampaya Fund.”
To download HB 1535, click here.
AN ACT INCREASING THE MINIMUM MONTHLY SALARIES OF PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS TO TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND PESOS AND NON-TEACHING PERSONNEL TO FIFTEEN THOUSAND PESOS
This Act shall cover all teaching and non-teaching personnel in all public schools in the elementary and secondary levels, whether nationally or locally funded, including those in technical and vocational schools and state universities and colleges.
AN ACT UPGRADING THE MINIMUM SALARY GRADE OF PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION TEACHING PERSONNEL FROM SALARY GRADE 12 TO 16
“This bill is also filed to address the huge gaps between the salaries of instructors and professors in SUCs and LUCs and those of persons in comparable occupations or with similar qualifications here and abroad.
AN ACT INCREASING THE ALLOWANCE OF PERSONAL EXEMPTION FOR INDIVIDUAL TAXPAYERS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION 35 (A) AND (B) OF REPUBLIC ACT 8424, OR THE TAX REFORM ACT OF 1997, AS AMENDED BY REPUBLIC ACT 9504
“This bill aims to increase the basic personal [exemptions to P75,000 for each individual taxpayer] and additional exemptions [to P40,000 for each dependent not exceeding four], and to give the Commissioner of Internal Revenue the duty to annually review these exemptions in relation to current living costs and recommend necessary adjustments to Congress.
AN ACT INCREASING THE CEILING FOR THE TOTAL EXCLUSION FROM GROSS INCOME OF 13TH MONTH PAY AND OTHER BENEFITS TO SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS, AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE SECTION 32 (B)(7)(E) OF THE NATIONAL INTERNAL REVENUE CODE
“(e) 13th Month Pay and Other Benefits. — Gross benefits received by officials and employees of public and private entities: Provided, however, That the total exclusion under this paragraph shall not exceed [Thirty Thousand Pesos (P30,000)] SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000) which shall cover:
x x x
“(iv) Other benefits such as productivity incentives and Christmas bonus: Provided, further, That the ceiling of [Thirty thousand Pesos (P30,000)] SIXTY THOUSAND PESOS (P60,000) [may] SHALL be increased through rules and regulations issued by the Secretary of Finance, upon ANNUAL REVIEW AND recommendation of the Commissioner AND UPON CONSULTATION WITH THE LABOR SECTOR IN THE PRIVATE AND CIVIL SERVICE, after considering among others, the effect on the same of the inflation rate at the end of the taxable year.”
AN ACT INCREASING THE PERSONNEL ECONOMIC RELIEF ALLOWANCE GRANTED TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO FOUR THOUSAND PESOS AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
“An increase in the PERA will offer government personnel more substantial relief from the erosion of purchasing power of public sector salaries and wages. For this purpose, this bill proposes that the PERA be increased to P4,000.”
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR A TEACHING SUPPLIES ALLOWANCE FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR
“This bill proposes to increase the annual allowance for classroom supplies from P 1,000 to P 2,000 (or P 9.85 per day), thereby relieving teachers of this onerous financial burden.”
AN ACT GRANTING FREE POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION IN STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES AND PUBLIC TECHNICAL AND VOCATIONAL SCHOOLS TO DEPENDENT CHILDREN OF PUBLIC ELEMENTARY AND HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS
“This bill seeks to meet the avowed policy of the Magna Carta by uplifting the economic condition of teachers, through the provision of a non-wage benefit in the form of free tuition and other fees for their dependent children who are admitted to public post-secondary education institutions [one dependent per teacher]. By shouldering this cost, the government shall provide substantial economic relief for teachers, give due recognition for their dedication and hard work, and enhance the status of the teaching profession. A similar intention is behind the comparable benefit given to barangay officials since 1991 in the Local Government Code (Republic Act 7160), but the coverage mandated in this bill is broader in that it provides free education in not only state universities and colleges but also public technical and vocational schools.”
AN ACT PROHIBITING THE HIRING OF TEACHERS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR THROUGH CONTRACTS OF SERVICE OR JOB ORDERS
SECTION 2. Coverage. This Act shall apply to teachers employed in public schools in the kindergarten, elementary, and secondary levels, as well as in public post-secondary education institutions, including State Universities and Colleges (SUCs), Local Universities and Colleges (LUCs), and technical-vocational schools.
SECTION 3. Prohibition. No teacher shall be hired to carry out the duties and functions of regular teaching staff, either on a full-time or part-time basis, through contracts of service or job orders, Provided, that post-secondary education institutions requiring teachers with highly specialized or technical expertise, which cannot be provided by their regular teaching staff, are exempt from the prohibition on contracts of service.
SECTION 4. Administrative Liability. Any government official or employee who violates the previous section shall be dismissed from the service with cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits, and the perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service.
AN ACT REGULATING CLASS SIZE IN ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND APPOINTING FUNDS THEREFOR
SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. It is the declared policy of the State to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality education. It is likewise declared that the State shall provide just compensation and humane working conditions for public school teachers.
Oversized classes in the country’s public schools adversely affect the learning experience provided to Filipino schoolchildren. To ensure access to quality education, it is necessary to establish standards for class size.
For their part, teachers are entitled to protection from unregulated increases in class size as well as to compensation commensurate to their actual workload.
SECTION 4. Standard Class Size. Each class to be handled by a single teacher shall have a standard size of 35 students. For purposes of this Act, any class with not more than 35 students shall be considered a standard class.
SECTION 5. Large Class Size. Any class exceeding 35 students up to a maximum of 50 students shall be considered a large class. In no case shall a class size in excess of 50 students be permitted.
SECTION 6. Large Class Honorarium. A teacher handling a large class shall be entitled to a large class honorarium equivalent to one percent (1.0 %) of her daily rate for every student in excess of the standard class size of 35.
AN ACT AMENDING SECTION 13 OF REPUBLIC ACT NO. 6646, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS “THE ELECTORAL REFORMS LAW OF 1987,” MAKING ELECTION SERVICE VOLUNTARY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS AND OTHER CITIZENS
“Mandatory election duty has long been an additional burden borne by public school teachers, who are already hard-pressed to provide quality education to our youth, in the face of low pay and difficult working conditions. In order to alleviate their plight, teachers must be given the freedom to choose whether or not they want to fulfil the roles of the BEI.
AN ACT DECLARING OCTOBER 5 OF EVERY YEAR AS “NATIONAL TEACHERS’ DAY”
“Despite hardships attendant to their profession, such as low pay and meager benefits, difficult working conditions, and minimal protection during election and census duties, our teachers still carry on, molding the minds and hearts of our country’s future. This bill sets aside October 5 as a special working holiday in their honor, to enable the public to express recognition and gratitude for their sacrifices.”
AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT 10175, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “CYBERCRIME PREVENTION ACT OF 2012”
“This bill proposes to remove from our statute books provisions of Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which endanger fundamental freedoms, particularly the right to free speech.
“First is the insertion of libel, a crime defined by Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code (Act No. 3815, 8 December 1930). Due to the widely spreading view that it shackles free expression and press, the trend internationally is the decriminalization of libel. The Philippine Congress, however, reinforced the antiquated felony with a graver penalty. x x x
“Next are Sections 6 and 7. The first provision qualifies as a graver crime any act penalized by the RPC or any special law, assigning to it a penalty one degree higher than that provided for by the RPC or the special law. However, persons committing crimes by, through, and with the use of information and communications technologies have not been established to have a greater criminal intent, warranting the higher penalty. Worse, the accused will be subjected to double jeopardy x x x.
“Last is Section 19 is a censorship clause, which allows the Justice Secretary to restrict or block access to computer data such as a website or account upon mere prima facie evidence of cyber-libel or any other violation of RA 10175. This violates the rights to free expression and due process guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. A mere executive official—not a judge—is empowered to take away one’s access to his or her computer data upon a passing examination.
“This bill also seeks to amend Section 12 which authorizes real-time collection by law enforcement authorities of traffic data without a court warrant. This is an unreasonable seizure of personal information such as one’s address, phone number, and bank account numbers, and an unacceptable intrusion into privacy of communication highly proscribed by the Constitution. Such great power over the said rights of the people requires the authority of the courts.
“These contentious provisions of RA 10175 cast a chilling effect over the exercise of free online expression. They bring back the days of Martial Law when being critical, especially of public officials, is a crime and arbitrary law enforcement is the general rule rather than the exception. For any repressive state official or regime, no actual prosecution under RA 10175 is necessary. Just the threat of prosecution is enough to curtail criticism, analysis, even simple thought. The slightest hint of dissent would trigger the suppression of free speech and an invasion of privacy.”
AN ACT AMENDING SECTION 8 OF REPUBLIC ACT 6426, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “FOREIGN CURRENCY DEPOSIT ACT OF THE PHILIPPINES”
“This bill proposes amendments to Republic Act 6426, or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines, that, while maintaining the secrecy and confidentiality of foreign currency deposits, allows their examination in certain exceptional cases, such as impeachment, or upon the order of a competent court. In addition, it proposes that their exemption from governmental orders or processes be removed. If this bill is enacted into law, foreign currency deposits will, in these respects, enjoy the same level of protection as deposits in the national currency.”
AN ACT DECLARING FEBRUARY FOUR OF EVERY YEAR AS “PHILIPPINE-AMERICAN WAR DAY”
“Sadly, February 4 passes yearly with hardly an official acknowledgment of the Philippine-American War and its tremendous significance in our history. Any memory of the events, heroes, and martyrs of the war has nearly been obliterated from the collective consciousness of our people. This bill thus seeks to declare February 4 as a special working holiday to honor the memory of our ancestors, the men and women who fought in the face of overwhelming odds and gave up their lives to defend the ideal of a truly independent and sovereign Philippines. Their sacrifice had been indispensable in the forging of the modern Filipino nation, and every Filipino citizen owes them a debt of gratitude.
“National commemoration of the Philippine-American War through the remembrance of the patriotism and self-sacrifice of its heroes and martyrs will reconcile us with our past, clarify our present, and point the way to our future.”
AN ACT WITHHOLDING OPERATIONAL FUNDS OF UNITS OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES IMPLICATED IN GROSS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS
“Notwithstanding the Aquino administration’s promises to address the deteriorating human rights situation in the country, the climate of impunity still reigns. Extrajudicial killings and other gross human rights violations involving state security forces continue to take place. According to KARAPATAN and the End Impunity Alliance, there have been 137 victims of extrajudicial executions, 14 victims of enforced disappearances, 72 of torture, and 269 of illegal arrests since President Benigno Aquino III came to power in June 2010, with the rise of incidents of violations “emanat[ing] from the state policy to muzzle principled dissent and the exercise of our rights, as embodied in the operational plans of the government” (Statement of the End Impunity Alliance, 25 April 2013). x x x Meanwhile, only a few military personnel have been criminally charged for human rights violations, and not a single perpetrator has been convicted. “The Butcher,” retired Army general Jovito Palparan, continues to remain at large years after kidnapping charges were filed against him in court.
x x x
“This bill will encourage the AFP chain of command to ensure that their units uphold and respect human rights at all times in the discharge of their duties, especially during counterinsurgency operations. Furthermore, it will incentivize AFP commanders to promptly identify perpetrators and make sure that the proper charges are filed. It also underscores the responsibility of the Secretary of National Defense in ensuring that charges are filed against individual perpetrators. For its part, the Commission on Human Rights is given the role of vetting complaints and weeding out spurious allegations.”
AN ACT AND AND MANDATING ITS USE IN SCHOOLS, BROADCAST MEDIA, AND WORKPLACES
“This proposed measure seeks to realize the rights of the Filipino Deaf to full and equal participation in society by enabling the acquisition of life and social development skills through the use of FSL as the language of instruction, in an environment which respects their identity and distinct capabilities. It also seeks to ensure that all executive policies are consistent with the law as abovestated. Furthermore, with its directive to all government agencies to ensure the Filipino Deaf access to all public transactions, services, and facilities through the use of FSL as the medium of official communication, this bill seeks to give effect to the State’s obligations under international law to progressively realize the rights of the Filipino Deaf to inclusion, accessibility, expression, and access to justice x x x.”