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[ 25 Aug 2016 | No Comment ]

25 August 2016
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio, 09209220817
Makabayan, the bloc of progressive party-lists in the Lower House has filed House Resolution 259 to start a probe into the reported killings and vigilante murders occurring amid the strengthened campaign against illegal drugs.
The resolution was filed by ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France L. Castro, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi A. de Jesus, BAYAN MUNA Party-List Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene D. Brosas, ANAKPAWIS Party-List Rep. Ariel Casilao and KABATAAN Party-List Rep. Sarah Jane L. Elago.
Entitled Resolution Urging the House of Representatives to Oppose the Use of Extrajudicial Killings by Law Enforcement Agencies Amid Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s Intensified Campaign to End the Illegal Drug Trade, and to Investigate, in Aid of Legislation, Mounting Complaints of Alleged Drug-Related Extrajudicial Killings and Vigilante Killings, HR 259 states that “complaints are mounting that an alarming number of extrajudicial killings and vigilante executions are taking place and not the official police line of “nanlaban kaya napatay.”
The resolution laments that “ringleaders of drug cartels, big-time drug lords, and their protectors in government have so far escaped the heightened anti-drug campaign, as only small-fry dealers and victim users have been targeted in these killing,” which cites a compilation by a major newspaper of 684 drug-related and vigilante executions (as of August 22).  Other reports estimate these killings to have reached around 1,800.
“There should be no compromise on the necessity to rid the country of crime and narcotics; an intensified campaign against illegal drugs is laudable and, in fact, long-overdue…This relentless campaign must, nonetheless, be waged with the highest regard for the protection of life and respect for human rights; its methods must be conducted in such ways that will spare casualties among innocents, and accord due process to suspects…Instituting safeguards are vital to prevent the anti-drug and anti-crime campaigns from being discredited as a result of due process and human rights violations.” ###

Full text of HR 259: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3_hmbcsQfo_TnB6cnlHZ2o4ZFk/view?usp=sharing

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[ 24 Aug 2016 | No Comment ]

24 August 2016
Reference: Rep. France L. Castro (0920-969-8457)

Castro: Rechannel PBB funds to salary increases

Due to the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) scheme’s divisive and discriminatory character, Rep. Castro urged the rechanneling of 16.7B PBB funds to salary increase during the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) presentation of the 2017 Budget on Monday.

ACT Teachers Party-List had so long decried the divisive, deceptive and discriminatory character of this system which purports to improve efficiency of government agencies’ functions. “This system creates an atmosphere of competition among employees instead of harmonious cooperation towards providing quality public service to the people,” Castro said.

Due to the lawmakers’ incessant prodding at the new administration’s decision to continue and even increase the PBB funds, DBM Undersecretary Laura Pascua agreed to give reports assessing PBB’s role in improving the efficiency of government agencies and agreed to review guidelines in granting PBB.

Moreover, Castro explained that PBB discriminates rank-and-file government employees because the amount of bonus for each employee depend on his/her salary.

“The PBB scheme is especially unfair to the public school teachers since the criteria used to measure their performance are the NAT scores of the school, drop-out rate, and liquidation capability and expenditure of the schools’ MOOE. Such parameters do not center on evaluating the quality of teacher factor,” Castro ended.

The PBB is part of ex-DBM Sec. Abad’s Performance-Based Incentive System [PBIS] along with PEI, established through EO No. 80, s. 2012 which adopted the Results-Based Performance Monitoring System (RBPMS)—a major governance reform that puts premium in the improvement of the performance management. The previous administration had allotted huge amount of funds to this scheme (14.6B in 2015 and 13.5B for 2016).###

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[ 18 Aug 2016 | No Comment ]

18 August 2016
Reference: Rep. France L. Castro

Rep. France Castro on DBM Sec. Diokno’s anti-poor statement

Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party-List denounced DBM Sec. Benjamin Diokno’s ‘anti-poor statement’ when he said “there is no urgency” in giving salary increases to teachers and nurses, yesterday in an Anti-Poverty Summit in Davao. Castro is also dismayed after Sec. Diokno announced that only members of AFP and PNP will have a PhP 5,000 allowance and rice allowance every month starting September and assured that uniformed men’s salary increase be granted by January 2017.

“It’s really alarming that the secretary said this in an anti-poverty event considering that quality education and health services are components of the ‘war against poverty’ being waged by the current administration,” Castro said as she asserted that teachers and nurses play important roles in poverty alleviation.

Castro underscored the fact that teachers and nurses along with other government employees are burdened with the perennial increases of the price of basic commodities faced by cops and military.

The lawmaker emphasizes insufficiency of the PhP 19,077 current monthly salary of entry-level teachers amidst the rising cost of living. Researchers found that PhP 1,093 is required to support a family of 6 per day.

“Teachers only have PhP 3,500-6,000 to as net take home pay each month. This dire state of their financial capacity pushes them to get loans and even pawn their ATM accounts. Teachers had historically fallen trapped in this cycle of indebtedness,” Castro stressed.

Castro condemned this notion that the uniformed service ought to be first since all government employees are equally important in nation building.

The lawmaker also reminds Sec. Diokno of constitutional mandate Art. 14, Sec. 5, Par. 5 to “assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.” ###


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[ 26 Jul 2016 | No Comment ]

25 July 2016

We laud the many pro-people policy pronouncements made by Pres. Duterte in his inaugural SONA, foremost of which is his unprecedented declaration of a unilateral ceasefire with the CPP-NPA and commitment to a just and lasting peace within his term.

Many of his pronouncements coincide with the demands that we in the progressive movement have been clamoring for over the years, such as the lowering of income tax, no demolition of informal settlers without relocation, review of mining permits, and emphasis on industrialization to generate jobs.

We are committed to supporting such initiatives in Congress to ensure that promised change under the Duterte administration will benefit the poor and marginalized. ###