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[ 17 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Solons condemn rejection of Taguiwalo ]

PRESS RELEASE
16 August 2017

 

ACT Teachers Representatives France Castro and Antonio Tinio slammed the Commission on Appointment’s rejection of the appointment of Department of Social and Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.

 

“This rejection of Secretary Taguiwalo’s appointment is also a rejection of the reforms she instituted in order to end political patronage in the management of public funds. It is a rejection of the kind of DSWD that genuinely served the poor and marginalized,” said the solons.

 

“Sec. Judy’s rejection is a tremendous loss for the people for whom she stood as DSWD chief,” Castro lamented. “In the short year of her service, the DSWD championed the poor, women, children, and the Lumad and other indigenous peoples. Sec. Judy called for the resumption of the peace talks towards a negotiated peace settlement that will address the roots of the armed conflict–poverty, landlessness, inaccessibility to services, and inequitable distribution of wealth and resources. Ano na lang mangyayari sa mga adbokasiya at repormang nasimulan ni Ma’am Judy ngayong pinutol ang pamumuno niya sa DSWD?”

 

“The CA’s refusal to let Sec. Judy remain in her post proves that those instituting reforms in government will not be tolerated by trapos who want public funds distributed in their name, by neoliberals and militarists in the cabinet who are against her advocacies for the poor and stand against martial law and fascism,” said Tinio.

 

One of the first acts of Taguiwalo as DSWD Secretary is the issuance of Memorandum Circular 9 which enforces the SC ruling on unconstitutionality of the Priority Development Assistance Fund by declaring that referrals from government officials are not integral to the implementation of DSWD’s Protective Services Program. This circular ensures that DSWD’s funds reach the poor and are not used for patronage.

 

Another is her support for the SSS pension hike, which she actively campaigned for inside the cabinet along with fellow progressives Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza.

 

Taguiwalo also pushed for the regularization of the thousands of personnel in DSWD who have long been under repeatedly renewed short-term contracts. Last week at the budget deliberations, she also called on Congress to reconsider the billion-peso Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino doleout as well as to increase the DSWD capital outlay for the construction and repair of centers and homes for senior citizens, orphanages, and other social welfare institutions. ###

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[ 4 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on the signing into law of the free higher education bill by Pres. Duterte: ]

We hail the signing into law by President Duterte of the Universal Access to Quality Education Act. This is a historic victory in our fight for the people’s right to education.

We commend and thank President Duterte for siding with the people on this issue and repudiating the advice of his elitist economic manager, who made it clear that they wanted a presidential veto. This is concrete proof that change can only come by rejecting the neoliberal dogma of DBM Sec. Diokno and his ilk in favor of policies that prioritize people’s rights above over the free market.

Malacañang and Congress must now work together to ensure that the free tertiary education law is sufficiently funded. Since the House deliberation on the 2018 national budget is still in its preliminary stage, we call on the Executive, through the DBM, to submit a revised budget that provides for the initial implementation of the new law.

We urge the people to remain vigilant and continue to mobilize to ensure that the gains made possible through this law will be realized and preserved. Surely, the neoliberal spoilers in the Cabinet will take every opportunity to roll back what we have gained today. Tuloy ang laban para sa libre, makabayan, siyentipiko, at pangmasang edukasyon!

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[ 3 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Sign free higher ed law, Duterte urged ]
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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged President Duterte to sign the Universal Access to Free Higher Education bill into law, saying that it will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education. This, after Duterte’s economic managers urged him to veto the bill.

The approved bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education. “Its passage by Congress is a victory of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society whose collective action pushed for a law providing for free higher education and for government to fulfill its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels,” said the solons.

“We have already proven that government can provide funds to make free higher education possible when Congress allocated P8.3 Billion for free tuition in the 2017 budget,” Tinio said. “The President can now move forward and sign the bill approved by Congress, providing the Filipino youth their right to access tertiary education.”

The administration’s economic team, including budget secretary Benjamin Diokno, recommended a veto, saying that free tertiary education will have very little impact on the poor and society and that it will need P100 billion.

“We urge the President not to heed the wrong information of his advisers. In fact, tuition and other school fees are the main factors discouraging many Filipinos from going to college. Also, the 2018 projections of income from tuition and other fees is P13.2 Billion, according to the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, while CHED estimates that implementing the bill will only need around P34 Billion. Free college will therefore not cost P100 Billion, as Diokno alleges,” Castro countered.

“Any amount given to fund free higher education will be a worthwhile and long-term priority since it will contribute to the shaping of our youth and to nation building. Regular funding as ensured by a law for free tertiary education will make this possible,” Tinio ended. ###

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[ 27 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on Include funds for free higher education in 2018 -solons ]

ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro condemned the removal in the Duterte administration’s proposed 2018 budget of funds for free higher education.

“The 2018 budget omitted provisions that will provide free tuition for all undergraduate and medical students from SUCs. In fact, there is a ₱6.29 Billion budget cut for the CHED,” Tinio said.

In the 2017 General Appropriations Act, ₱8 Billion for free tuition and other school fees are included in the CHED budget as the Higher Education Support Program, covered by Special Provision 2. CHED is also allocated ₱3 Million for Cash Grants to Medical Students, covered by Special Provision 6. Special Provision 1 common to all state universities and colleges (SUCs) states that “SUCs are authorized to collect tuition fees and other necessary school charges in accordance with R.A. No. 8292: Provided, That starting the first semester of SY 2017-2018, no tuition fee shall be collected from undergraduate students. In lieu of the income from tuition fees, the SUCs shall be provided financial assistance from the Higher Education Support Program of the CHED.”

In the 2018 National Expenditure Program the President submitted to Congress, CHED’s Special Provisions 2 and 6 were not reiterated while the proviso on free tuition and the HESP in Special Provision 1 was deleted.

“President Duterte’s economic managers consistently opposed the bill, then he himself subjected the ₱8.3 Billion allocation in the 2017 budget to conditional implementation. And now, funds that are supposed to continue the free college program in 2018 are missing from his proposed budget,” said Tinio.

The solon also noted that President Duterte has not yet signed the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Bill approved by Congress. If signed into law, it would turn the one year program into a regular program of the government. According to the Senate and Lower House websites, it was transmitted to him on July 5.

“Instead of removing funds for free tuition and other school fees, the administration should even increase the allocation to ensure that tertiary education remains free in 2018 and that more youth can avail of it. It should even substantially increase SUCs’ budgets to ensure that what they offer is indeed quality education,” said Castro. “But now we see that the President’s promise to make higher education free is just a bigay-bawi.”

“This is a huge step backward for the administration, its dismissal of the people’s demand for higher budgets for education,” she added. “While the Philippine National Police, Department of National Defense, and Armed Forces of the Philippines are given hefty increases, higher education will suffer a tremendous budget cut. The Duterte administration should prioritize funding basic social services such as education instead of his wars against the people.”

“Now that the provisions for free tuition are deleted in the 2018 NEP, we need to further strengthen the campaign for free higher education,” Tinio added. “We have proven in the budget last year that the state can afford to allocate funds for education in the tertiary level.”

“We urge Congress to reinstate the provision providing free tuition for all undergraduate and medical students in the 2018 national budget. It supposedly has the power of the purse, so it should even take a step forward and significantly increase funds for free higher education. We also demand President Duterte to sign into law the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education bill,” Castro ended.###