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[ 16 Dec 2013 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

16 December 2013

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817)

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio urged DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro to immediately extend financial assistance to teachers and other DepEd personnel affected by Yolanda.

 

“Matagal nang umaaray ang mga guro at kawaning nasalanta ni Yolanda,” said Tinio, “at di nila maitindihan kung bakit sa kabila nito ay mukhang sa kanila rin inaasa ang paghahagilap ng mga rekurso para sa repair at rehabilitation ng mga nasirang klasrum at pasilidad.”

 

He added that more than a month after disaster struck, classes are still being held in terrible conditions like in makeshift classrooms, oven-like tents, or classrooms with tarps for roofs.

 

He said that teachers and other DepEd personnel in the affected areas worry that with the government’s record of knee-dragging in repair and rebuilding of schools and offices stricken by disaster, they would have to resort to their own devices and tap into their own funds.

 

Tinio argued that with the slow assessment and rehabilitation efforts of the Department, his office has received several complaints from teachers and other employees from Samar, Leyte, Panay, Cebu, and other divisions who used their own money for repairs of classrooms and offices.

 

This, despite themselves being beset by skyrocketing prices of oil and basic commodities in their areas.

 

Tinio said that the survivors expect government to at least assist them in their personal recovery by extending to them financial assistance or zero-interest loans which would help them in their daily expenses and in rebuilding their homes.

 

He noted that government has funds to do this, with the recent approval of the extension of the life of calamity-related funds amounting to P12 billion. ###

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[ 10 Dec 2013 | No Comment ]

PRESS STATEMENT

December 10, 2013

Reference : ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-9220817)

 

ACT TEACHERS Rep. Antonio Tinio on the Meralco power rate hike approved by ERC:

 

A mere 11.5% of supply purchased by Meralco from private power producers through the WESM accounts for 70% of the P3.44/kWh price increase that will be passed on to consumers in the coming months.

 

This seemingly absurd situation points to a massive failure on the part government, particularly the Energy Regulatory Commission, to regulate and protect the public from the predatory behavior of a handful of power producers,  who were able to dictate the price of electricity sold in the WESM.

 

Three power producers were able to dictate the price of electricity in the spot market during the critical month of October 26 to November 25. These are the Aboitiz-owned Therma Mobile, the Bauang Diesel Power Plant, likewise operated by the Aboitiz group, and the Limay Combined Cycle Plant owned by Millennium Holdings, Inc. of businessman Mike Valencia. From an average rate of P13.74/kWh before the Malampaya shutdown, the spot price skyrocketed to an average of P33.22/kWh.

 

Needless to say, the bulk of the price increase to be borne by consumers will be cornered by these three power producers in the form of unprecedented profits arising from their successful manipulation of the WESM.

 

The predatory behavior is best illustrated by the behavior of the Aboitiz group’s Therma Mobile during this period. Initially, it had a short-term contract with Meralco to provide 234 mW of electricity at a cost of P8.65/kWh. However, Therma Mobile  delivered only 100 mW at this price and chose to sell the rest of its capacity on the WESM, resulting in the jacked-up prices.

 

Most telling of all, information provided by the Philippine Electricity Market Corp., which administers the hate WESM, shows that during the critical month when Malampaya was down, electricity was being sold on the spot market at the bid cap of P62/kWh even during periods of low demand and Sundays, further indicating price manipulation.

 

This unprecedented increase has shattered yet another illusion peddled by the advocates of privatization. WESM was and continues to be touted as a mechanism that would reduce electricity rates by bringing market forces to bear on the price of peak power. The harsh reality is far different: a handful of players can manipulate the market and gouge the public seemingly at will, with the government regulator, ERC, unwilling to intervene.

 

Yet again, the privatization of the power industry is exposed as a failure, the EPIRA as a law that enables private power corporations to gouge massive profits from consumers, and the ERC as a regulator that aids and abets this highway robbery. #

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[ 3 Dec 2013 | No Comment ]

Mr. Speaker, I voted “NO” to House Bill 3423 because this Representation will not be a party to this travesty of checks and balances that took place this evening.  Yet again, this Congress has debased itself by giving blanket authority to the President to spend P14.6 billion on a rehabilitation plan sight unseenThis Congress has not seen even one paragraph of this rehabilitation plan, Mr. Speaker.  And yet, by voting to approve this supplemental budget bill, this institution has given all authority to the President, Mr. Speaker.

Ang tungkulin ng Kongreso ay bantayan ang Ehekutibo, lalung-lalo na sa paggugol sa pondo ng taumbayan.

Anong klaseng pagbababantay ito?  Mayroon bang miyembro rito na makapagsasabi kung tatanungin kayo ng inyong constituents pagbalik ninyo sa inyong mga distrito, “Ano ba ang laman, ano ba ang hitsura ng rehabilitation plan para sa kalamidad na inaprubahan ninyo?”  May masasagot ba kayo?  Ang masasagot lang niyo dito: “Bahala na ang Presidente.”  Kung tatanungin sa inyo ng inyong constituents, magkano ba sa P14.6 billion ang ilalaan para sa lugar ninyo na natamaan ng kalamidad?  Masasagot ba ninyo?  Ang sagot niyo lang: “Bahala na ang Presidente!”

Anong klaseng Kongreso ito?  Nasaan ang so-called “power of the purse” kung bahala na lang pala ang Presidente?  Ang sagot po—sinuko ng Kongresong ito ang kanyang kapangyarihan na magbantay sa Presidente.  Kaya malinaw po—presidential pork ang P14.6 billion supplemental budget na ito.  Katulad ng nabanggit ng ibang kasamahan ko, kahit na nga yung napaka-limitadong kondisyon sa paglalaan ng P14.6 billion, yung phrase “consider the recommendation of the NDRRMC” na nasa orihinal na bill, pinatanggal pa ngayong gabi at inaprubahan pa ng Kongresong ito.

Kaya purong-purong Presidente na lamang ang magpapasya—hindi na kailangang sundin ang tinatakda ng batas na proseso na pangungunahan ng NDRRMC mula sa baba, mula sa mga LGU pataas, magmumula ang mga rekomendasyon, pinatanggal pa iyan, Mr. Speaker.

Sa aking interpellation, ni-raise ko rin ang isyu ng constitutionality.  Sinabi natin na labag sa batas ang proseso na sinunod.  Ang tinatakda ng batas sa supplemental budget, Presidente ang dapat maghapag ng detalyadong proposal sa Kongreso at dito ibabatay ang supplemental bill na ating pag-uusapan at ipapasa.  Inamin mismo ng Sponsor [Davao City Representative and Appropriations Committee Chair Isidro Ungab], walang proposal na binigay ang Presidente.  Ang kongresong ito lamang ang gumawa ng sarili niyang supplemental budget.  Labag na po iyan.

Sinabi rin natin, malinaw rin na paglabag: augmentation ng existing calamity fund.  Again, another Constitutional provision na nilabag, Mr. Speaker.  Dagdag na kahihiyan ng Kongresong ito, we are irresponsible enough to pass a supplemental measure that is so obviously constitutionally infirm, Mr. Speaker.

Panghuli, bakit po natin nire-raise ang mga issues na ito?  Dahil nagmumula po ito sa ating kagustuhan na matiyak na ang bawat sentimo ng pondo ng taumbayan ay tunay na makararating sa mga nangangailangan nating kababayan.  Ngunit, sa pag-apruba natin ng lump sum, lahat sa Calamity Fund, hindi na natin magagawa ang tungkuling iyan.  Ano ba itong Calamity Fund?  Kung nagkaroon ng special audit sa PDAF at nakita ang maraming mga anomalya, makatitiyak ako na kung magkaroon ng special audit sa Calamity Fund sa mga nakaraang taon hanggang sa kasalukuyan, saksakan ng dami ng mga iregularidad at korapsyon ang makikita din natin dito, Mr. Speaker.

Sa mga kadahilanang ito, Mr. Speaker, bumoto ako ng “NO.”  Maraming salamat.

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[ 24 Nov 2013 | No Comment ]
Ma'am Buclatan (center) with her fellow Yolanda survivor, ACT Teachers Region VIII coordinator, Dr. Efleda Bautista (right) and Rep. Tinio (left)

Not even a supertyphoon can stop her from teaching.

When Ma’am Maria Luz Buclatan reached out, after surviving Yolanda, through the survivors page of online news network Rappler, her only wish was to return to her students at Commonwealth Elementary School, QC.  The disaster left her with neither opportunity nor means to get back by C-130 or commercial plane.

Rappler photo of Ma'am Buclatan

Ma’am Buclatan with her brother at Divine Word Hospital in Tacloban City (Photo credit: Rappler)

ACT Teachers national and local staff quickly got in touch with the maestra, and arranged for her to be able to leave Tacloban as soon as her brother’s condition enables them to travel.  He was hospitalized due to an accident after the typhoon.

Ma'am Buclatan (center) with her fellow Yolanda survivor, ACT Teachers Region VIII coordinator, Dr. Efleda Bautista (right) and Rep. Tinio (left)

Ma’am Buclatan (center) with her fellow Yolanda survivor, ACT Teachers Region VIII coordinator, Dr. Efleda Bautista (right) and Rep. Tinio (left) who is in Tacloban as part of BALSA ACT’s relief efforts.

Maestra Maria Luz, 59, is a Teacher III with 23 years of teaching in her belt.  Also a Girl Scout District Coordinator, she was in Dulag on family matters when Typhoon Yolanda struck the provinces of Leyte and Samar.

Our deepest thanks to Rappler.  (Here’s how you can help bridge the gap between someone searching for their family in the affected areas or a survivor trying to reach out.)

BALSA ACT also continues its relief efforts, both at the National Headquarters of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers in Vasra, Q.C., and at our Teachers’ Building at Tacloban, which now functions as center of relief efforts for Eastern Visayas by ACT and local progressive organizations.  Regional coordinator, Dr. Efleda Bautista, herself a Yolanda survivor, oversees operations there.

BALSA ACT, with the networks of Bayanihan Alay sa Sambayanan (BALSA), Tulong Kabataan, Citizens Disaster Response Center, and other organizations, has released directly to the ravaged towns of Samar, Leyte, Cebu, and other areas around 1,000 food packs as well as mission, including medical teams, to aid in the relief effort. ###