06 December 2016
Reference: 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 join the nationwide hunger strike of all political prisoners today, December 6. The solidarity fasting for freedom from December 3 up to December 10, International Human Rights Day, calls for the immediate release of around 400 political prisoners, especially the sick, elderly and those who have long been in jail.
“Political prisoners have suffered long enough behind bars. In fact, they should not have suffered in the first place since they are activists from marginalized sectors, including the education sector, who, in their struggle with the masses for their economic, social, and political rights, are branded as rebels by past administrations, the military and the police, and the Oplan Bayanihan,” said the solons.
“The ongoing peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will be pointless if the previously signed agreements like the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIRL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) are ignored,” Tinio argued. “Government’s disregard of its duties under these agreements is what caused the criminalization of the activism of our political prisoners and the illegal arrests and detention of peace consultants.”
“Among those unjustly jailed are Lumad and volunteer teachers and organizers for the teachers’ movement, whose political convictions and activities are criminalized with the filing of trumped-up cases against them. Due to these baseless and malicious charges, torture during detention, and inhumane prison conditions, they suffer from various diseases,” Castro insisted. “Should this be the return of their service to the people?”
Among these political prisoners were Amelia Pond and Dominiciano “Dioning” Muya, both Lumad educators in Davao, and Rhea Pareja, a volunteer teacher in Quezon.
Another person unjustly jailed is Rene Boy Abiva, a community social worker and organizer of the militant Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) in Cagayan who was arrested in December 2013 under Oplan Bayanihan. The military implicated him with the ambush of soldiers in Tinoc, Ifugao in April 2012. Rene Boy is gainfully employed since 2011 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and has never set foot in Ifugao.
“The continued detention of Rene Boy, our teachers Amy, Dioning, and Rhea, and hundreds of other political prisoners has no place under an administration that brands itself as ‘activist’ and one for change,” said the solons. “It shows that, far from discontinuing the heinous Oplan Bayanihan, government still implements it as if it were legal and democratic. It proves political repression still remains under the Duterte administration.”
“We fast today in protest of the injustice of a government that considers service to the poor, militancy, and dissent as rebellious and criminal. We call on President Duterte to free them now.” ###
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25 November 2016
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817) and Rep. France L. Castro (09209698457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro, with the broad alliance of teachers, students and educators under the Education Sector Against the Revival of the Marcoses join the nationwide Black Friday Protest at Rizal Park to strongly condemn the recent hero’s burial of Marcos and to denounce the blatant historical revisionism.
“The education sector cannot ignore the historical revisionism happening right now. The decision overturned history as it declared that Marcos deserves a hero’s burial when in fact history already judged him as a plunderer, murderer, fascist, and criminal,” Tinio stressed.
“The Marcoses have several sins to the people especially to the education sector. Most of the problems faced by schools such as low budgets, lack of facilities, large class sizes, and other perennial problems were brought by Marcos or worsened during his reign, so we cannot condone the rehabilitation of his image nor that of his family. Until now, we are still paying the foreign debts,” Castro said.
The solons cited the Education Act which Marcos enacted in 1982. “This law started the privatization in the education sector and subjected the youth’s right to profit-orientation,” Castro added.
Citing a study of independent think tank Ibon, Tinio recalled that Marcos bloated foreign debt nearly 30 times from $1 billion in 1966 to $28 billion in 1986, trapping the country into a cycle of growing debts. Filipinos will be paying for Marcos debts alone until 2025.
The Marcos regime plundered $5 to $10 billion of ill-gotten wealth. The PCGG recovered only $4.2 billion. “This money came from the people, could be used by the people,” said the solon. “It can fund a lot for social services including education, minimize if not remove shortages in our schools but until now the Marcoses are intentionally keeping the ill-gotten wealth.”
The foreign debts that mostly were plundered by the Marcoses resulted to compounded problems in terms of finances. Because of it, every administration after Marcos up to President Duterte had been prioritizing the debt servicing rather than allocating the highest budget to the education as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.
“The low allocation of budget to education resulted to perennial problems such as huge class sizes, shortages, freezed salary increase and other issues that has an impact to the quality of education we have. Even the materials of teachers such as chalk and other instructional materials came from their pockets. The underfunding is the continuing result of the debts incurred and it will greatly affect our salaries and benefits,” Tinio added.
“For us, all our teachers and students, even those who were not yet born then, are victims of Marcos and Martial Law, because until now we are experiencing the emerging problems created then. So we encourage every teacher, student, and educator to condemn in all possible ways the recognition of Marcos as a hero and the blatant revision of history,” Tinio said. ###