Teacher Organizations Pledge Their Support to House Bills Proposed by Act Teachers Partylist
Rep. Antonio Tinio of Act Teachers Partylist led officials of teachers’ organizations in an assembly for the upgrading of teachers’ salary and requested for their full support for the bills being lobbied on teachers’ rights and welfare. Rep. Tinio gave a comprehensive report on all of the house bills on teachers’ rights and welfare, highlighting House Bill No. 2142 or the upgrading of the salary grade of public school teachers from grade 11 to 15.
The National Assembly of Teachers Organization was held at the Department of Education NCR Office and was attended by leaders of teachers’ groups across the region to show their support for the bills advocating for the rights of teachers. The groups included Philippines Elementary School Principals Association, a national association of school heads across the country (PESPA), and, Philippine Public School Teachers Association (PPSTA), a nationwide professional organization for teachers.
The said event was also graced by Dr. Rizalino Jose Rosales, of DepEd NCR, who imparted some updates on the budget deliberation of NCR. “There are still many shortages—in teachers, in classrooms, textbooks, bathrooms and seats. Malaki ang rate ng drop- outs. Marami pang pangangailangan and DepEd NCR. And in this light, rest assured that the DepEd NCR will show its support to the enactment of the bills proposed by ACT Teachers Party-list.
Dr. Mario Ramirez of PPSTA lauded Rep. Tinio’s report, saying that it is comprehensive and transparent. He promised that he will disseminate the report to his contemporaries. “I will ensure that our organization will support the legislation of the bills,” Dr. Ramirez notes. Dr. Sherwin Manaquil of PESPA also forwarded his commitment to the passing of the bills. “Pag-uwi ko, magoorganize din ako para sa ACT Teachers at ito ay aming susuportahan hanggang katuparan,”Dr. Manaquil seconds.
An open forum, which came in after the report by Rep. Tinio, provided a venue for teachers, principals and other personnel to voice out their dilemmas and suggestions. Their general response was that of gratitude and support to ACT Teachers and the house bills.
“As we continue to lobby for these house bills, especially HB 2142, we continuously seek for the support of our constituents,” Rep. Tinio says. He leaves a challenge to the assembly, urging them to stand by the commitment that they made in the assembly. “Some of the bills have already been passed, some have been co-authored by more than a hundred representatives but some are still pending. What we need now is public pressure coming from the teachers’ sector to push the government to finally pass these bills,” he concludes.
At the end of the assembly, the signing of the covenant of unity became the materialization of all the unities formed during the event. More than 50 teacher leaders signed the covenant of unity and pledged their commitment to take part in collective actions toward the bills’ passage into laws.
March 15, 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (+639209220817)
Legislator calls for probe of alleged abuses of Canadian mining firm in Zamboanga del Sur
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio is calling for a Congressional investigation into human rights abuses allegedly committed by a Canadian mining firm against small-scale miners and indigenous Subanen in Zamboanga del Sur.
Tinio filed House Resolution 2246, calling on the House Committee on National Cultural Communities to look into the activities of TVI Resource Development (Phils.), Inc. (TVIRD), as it seeks to establish and operate an open-pit gold mine on Balabag Hill in Sitio Balabag, Barangay Depore, Bayog municipality in Zamboanga del Sur.
TVIRD is a subsidiary of TVI Pacific, Inc., a publicly-traded Canadian mining company based in Calgary, Alberta. TVIRD currently operates a copper-zinc mine in Canatuan, Zamboanga del Norte.
According to Tinio, TVIRD’s effort to set up gold mining operations in Balabag, beginning with the deployment of its Balabag Pioneer Team in April 2011, has brought it into conflict with small-scale miners and the indigenous Subanen population. “Currently, there are around 600 homes and establishments on Balabag Hill, where over 3,000 small-scale miners and their dependents live and work, together with the local Subanen. TVIRD needs to evict them from the area before it can start mining for gold.”
The party-list solon said that TVIRD has been conducting “clearing operations” in Sitio Balabag since November 2011, making use of paramilitaries supplied by the Philippine Army. “According to internal documents of TVIRD that have been brought to our attention, the mining firm has been implementing a security plan known as OPLAN Bongkag (Operation Plan “Dismantle”) since the last quarter of 2011,” said Tinio. “The objectives are to secure the area for mining operations in the face of strong resistance from the small-scale miners, many of whom have been working in the area since the 1980s. ” He added that the plan, approved by TVIRD’s Vice-President for Philippine Operations and Chief Operating Officer Yulo E. Perez, called for the deployment of regular troops, along with at least 220 paramilitaries from the 1st Infantry Divison of the Philippine Army, all of them acting under the direction of TVIRD’s Security Manager, retired Army Colonel Valentino V. Edang.
Tinio explained that such an arrangement was made by possible when, in October 2011, President Benigno S. Aquino III authorized the deployment of paramilitaries, known as Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit Active Auxiliaries (SCAA). These SCAA are recruited, armed and trained by the Armed Forces of the Philippines but assigned to private mining companies to provide them with additional security. Under this arrangement, the mining companies pay for the compensation of SCAA. “Reports of abuses committed by paramilitaries acting in behalf of TVIRD against ordinary citizens highlight the perils of allowing the State’s armed forces, funded by taxpayers, to protect and defend the private interests of foreign mining companies.”
Tinio cited reports that TVIRD, with the aid of paramilitaries, committed numerous human rights violations against small-scale miners and the local Subanen in the course of implementing OPLAN Bongkag. These include the demolition of Subanen homes, bulldozing of subsistence plots, destruction of small-scale mining equipment, illegal searches and arrests, setting up of checkpoints, and imposition of a blockade to prevent supplies from reaching the community on Balabag Hill.
TVIRD also reportedly fenced off the mountain spring that serves as the main source of water for the community. It also used heavy equipment to excavate two sections of the Diplahan-Guinoman-Balabag road, a public road that serves as the main access route to Sitio Balabag, rendering it virtually impassable. As a result of the restrictions on access and the militarization of the area imposed by TVRID, enrolment in the Balabag Primary School, the only one serving the remote community, dropped from 105 to 50. “We are particularly concerned about reports that the activities of TVIRD in the past few months have kept many children in the community from going to school,” said Tinio.
Tinio also noted that TVIRD “special intelligence units” have been conducting “close monitoring” activities on local personalities, leading the resistance to the entry TVIRD in Sitio Balabag, including officials of the local small-scale miners’ association, journalists, and a municipal councilor.
“According to one of their security officers, the ‘full combat status’ of their ‘forces’ is ‘on standby mode until further order [sic].’ That’s alarming and dangerous rhetoric coming from a senior TVIRD official, given the nature of the security forces at their disposal,” said Tinio.
“We’re calling for a congressional investigation to look into the reported abuses of TVIRD. Recognizing the widespread opposition to the entry of foreign mining firms in the country, it’s our duty to make sure that those already in operation are doing so in accordance with our laws and with utmost respect for the rights of our citizens,” he concluded. #
March 14, 2012
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-922-0817)
A legislator is calling on the leadership of the House of Representatives to act on pending legislation to address the runaway increases in the price of oil.
ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio pointed out that fourteen bills have been filed in the lower house for the purpose of reviewing, amending, or repealing the Republic Act 8479, or the “Oil Deregulation Law.” In addition, three other bills have been filed proposing the reduction or outright removal of the 12% Value Added Tax on petroleum products. “Unfortunately, the bills critical of oil deregulation have been pending with the Committee on Energy for 1 ½ years. Not a single one has been scheduled for deliberation. Neither has there been much progress with regard to the bills on VAT. Without legislative action, there will be no changes in the deregulated regime of oil pricing and ordinary consumers will continue to bear the brunt of the rising cost of oil.”
Tinio called on the House leadership to take urgent action on the pending bills. “We call on Speaker Sonny Belmonte and Energy Committee Chairperson, Representative Henedina Abad, to prioritize hearings on the proposed measures. Otherwise, this Congress will be reneging on its obligation to respond to the clamor of the people who are suffering from rising oil prices.”
The party-list representative explained “We support the call for the scrapping of the 12% VAT on oil, as this will provide immediate relief for millions of consumers. For the long term, our people can be protected from the predatory practices and speculation of global oil monopolies and the local oil cartel through strong government regulation, establishment of a price support mechanism, centralized procurement of oil, and the renationalization of Petron.” Tinio noted that these proposals are contained in House Bill 4355, which he co-authored with Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and NeriColmenares, Anakpawis Representative Raphael Mariano, Gabriela Women’s Party Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi de Jesus, and Kabataan Representative Raymond Palatino.
Tinio joined a protest action near the BatasangPambansa this morning, part of a nationally-coordinated day of action against oil price hikes. “We support the peoples’ call for the junking of ODL through a National Day of Protest against oil price hikes.” #
Isa marahil sa pinakagasgas na kasabihan patungkol sa kabataan ay sila nga daw ang pag-asa ng bayan. Dahil sa kanilang natatanging galing at talino, bukas ang isipan ng kabataan sa mga bago at progresibong ideya. Maliban sa pag-aaral, hindi tali ang oras ng youth sector sa produksyon o paggawa. Likas ang sigasig at sikhay sa bawat gawain at usapin na naaatas sa kanila, mula sa simpleng assignment sa eskwela hanggang sa pakikialam sa mga suliranin na kasalukuyang kinakaharap ng lipunan.
Dahil sa ganitong katangian ng kabataan, hindi maiiwasang idikta sa kanilang mag-aral na lamang at huwag munang makialam sa mga usapin ng lipunan. Ngunit para sa kabataan na nakararamdam ng kahirapan at krisis bunsod ng kawalan o kakapusan ng trabaho ng kaniyang mga magulang, kasabay ng kabi-kabilang pagtataas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin, hindi naman nila maiiwasang magtaka at magtanong kung bakit nga ba ganito.
Napakaliit ng badyet na inilalaan ng ating gobyerno para sa edukasyon at serbisyong panlipunan kung ihahambing sa pangangailangan ng mga mamamayang dapat paglinkuran. Hindi naman siguro bago sa atin ang kakulangan sa guro, libro at mga klasrum. Nagkakasya tayo sa paggamit ng dalawa hanggang apat na estudyante sa iisang libro, pagsisiksikan ng mga mag-aaral sa maliit na silid aralan at ang kakarampot na sahod ng ating mga guro. Kung makatapos man ang iba sa high school, hindi rin naman tiyak ang kanilang pagpasok sa kolehiyo dahil sa taas ng matrikula, maging sa mga State Universities and Colleges. Para sa mga masuwerteng nakatapos naman ng kolehiyo, walang kaseguraduhan kung may naghihintay man sa kanilang trabaho. Dahil dito, tila kumakapit sa patalim at nakikipagsapalaran ang ibang mga kabataan sa ibang bansa. Sa paglabas natin ng paaralan, tatambad sa atin ang kalagayan ng ibang kabataan. Mayroong mga out of school youth at mga kabataang hindi man lang nakatungtong sa paaralan. Hindi dahil sila ay tamad o likas na mahina ang utak. Ito ay dahil sa lumalalang krisis pangekonomiya na patuloy na pumipigil sa pag-unlad ng mamamayang Pilipino
Ang kawalan ng industriya sa kalunsuran at makabagong agrikultura sa kanayunan, ang pagpayag ng gobyerno sa patuloy na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis at ng mga bilihin, ang patuloy na pagkaltas sa badyet ng eduksyon—ito ang ilan sa mabibigat na isyu na kinakaharap ng ating lipunan. Ngunit napatunayan na ng kasaysayan, mula pa noong panahon nina Andres Bonifacio, patuloy sa First Quarter Storm, EDSA I at EDSA II, hanggang sa kasalukuyan—hindi matatawaran ang husay at tapang ng kabataan sa pakikipaglaban hindi lamang para sa karapatan ng kanilang sektor kundi para na rin sa lahat ng mamamayang inaapi. Bitbit ang panawagan para sa reporma sa lupa, dagdag sahod para sa mga manggagawa, karapatang pantao at edukasyon para sa lahat, napagtatagumpayan ng kabataan ang mga laban nito hanggang sa kasalukuyang panahon.
Sa panahong umiigting ang krisis panlipunan, isang mabigat na tanong para sa ating mga magsisitapos: Handa ka bang paglingkuran ang sambayanan? Handa ka bang panindigan na ikaw nga ay bahagi kabataang pag-asa ng ating bayan? Handa ka bang tulungan ang mga kababayan mong pinagsasamantalahan at tinatanggalan ng karapatan? Kung oo, hindi nasayang ang pagod at pawis ng mga magulang mo sa pagpapalaki at pagpapaaral sa iyo, hindi nasayang ang sakripisyo ng iyong mga guro sa pagbabahagi sa iyo ng kaalaman. Ngunit may isa pang malaking hamon para sa inyo: gaya ng winika ni Gat Jose Rizal na ang kabataan ang pag-asa ng bayan, ang pag-asa ng kinabukasan, ang hamon sa inyo ay huwag nang ipagpabukas. Kabataan, maging pag-asa ngayon na!
(pinahihintulutan ang pagpaparami at pag re print ng artikulong ito)