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[ 23 Feb 2017 | No Comment ]
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PRESS RELEASE
23 February 2017
References:  ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France Castro
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro slammed the premature closing of the debates on the death penalty bill during yesterday’s plenary session.
“It is alarming that the House leadership chose to cut short the deliberations knowing that many solons lined up to express their legal and moral bases against death penalty,” said Tinio who was supposed to be next interpellator for House Bill 4727 just before the Majority Floor Leader moved to terminate the period of interpellation.
“This is a blatant disrespect to the long list of legislators who lined up to register their constituents’ views on the matter,” Tinio remarked. “It is definitely unacceptable to railroad the passage of the death penalty bill because for burning issues such as this, congressional deliberations are not just for its members alone—they are also for the people. Due to the utmost seriousness of the proposal and the public nature of our sessions, Congress owes it to the Filipino people to conscientiously discuss the issue at hand.”
“This railroading reveals that they are willing to bend their own rules just to stifle the important debate. We were about to demonstrate why the proposal violates not just international law but our very own Constitution, and why it is anti-poor, historically a tool of state repression, prone to abuse and definitely not an effective deterrent to criminality. It was disappointing for me, as a neophyte legislator, to witness democracy as the first in line on this administration’s death row,” Castro stressed.
The solons believe that the reimposition of death penalty violates the Second Optional Protocol to the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines ratified in 2007, binding the government not to execute anyone within its jurisdiction and to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty. Passage of a death penalty law also violates Article II, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution which mandates the state to adopt “the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land.”
“Ultimately, railroading of this measure by the House leadership only adds to the long list of our reasons why we will vote No,” Tinio ended. ###

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[ 23 Feb 2017 | No Comment ]
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PRESS RELEASE
23 February 2017
References:  ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France Castro
ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro commended the approval of the additional P1,000 monthly pension hike for the Social Security System (SSS) pensioners an accumulated P2000 collectible for the months of January and February.
“We credit this victory to the steadfast campaign of pensioners, workers, the Filipino people and former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares,” Tinio said.
“We urge the SSS to immediately release the P2,000 collectible for January and February.  Our pensioners have long been fighting for this pension hike so let us not make them wait any longer for their much deserved benefits.  We also call on the SSS and the Duterte administration to no longer push for any increase in premium contributions as this will only reduce further the take home pay of more than 30 million SSS members,” Castro added. ###

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[ 22 Feb 2017 | No Comment ]
IMG_2017-02-22 17:36:49

PRESS RELEASE
22 February 2017
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro
IMG_2017-02-22 17:36:49ACT Teachers Representative France Castro today joined child rights advocates in calling for the scrapping of the proposed bill to lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR). The protest was held in front of the House of Representatives (HOR) after representatives from the Makabayan bloc walked out from the hearing of the Committee on Justice.
The bill seeks to lower the MACR from the current 15 years old to nine years old. Children in conflict with the law (CICL) who are nine to below 18 years old will be subject to criminal proceedings if they are alleged to have acted with discernment, or knew their action was wrong.

“As a teacher, I know the mentality of my students and children at that tender age. They still don’t have sufficient capacity to distinguish right from wrong and are vulnerable to authority, pressure, or deceit from adults,” Castro said. “When they do wrong, it is when they need most to be put in nurturing environments and not be ostracized as criminals.”
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[ 8 Dec 2016 | No Comment ]
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PRESS RELEASE
07 December 2016
Reference: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
 
ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro scored the naming of Lieutenant General Eduardo Año as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), saying that President Duterte should take a second look at Año’s long record of human rights violations and reconsider the appointment.
“The Army under Año’s command was responsible for various human rights violations, including the Paquibato massacre in June 2014 which killed three indigenous peoples (IPs) and the pouring in of battalions in Mindanao which caused widespread displacement of IPs,” said Tinio.  “When he signed Año’s appointment papers, the President might as well have signed the death warrant for the search for justice and accountability for these human rights violations.”
Año is also linked to the enforced disappearance of farmer-activist Jonas Burgos who was taken by armed men under his command, among them then-Army Lt. Harry Baliaga.
“Año’s appointment implies that human rights violators and those who allow them are rewarded with higher ranks rather than jail time.  His appointment is a huge mockery to human rights, which is unfortunate since we would be celebrating the International Human Rights Day in a few days,” said Castro.  “Appointing Año as AFP chief is to pardon grave human rights violations.  It is a slap on the face of victims their families and supporters whose outcries for justice remain unanswered.”
“We urge President Duterte to reconsider this appointment and to reassess his recent decisions involving the military and their implications.  The government should uphold, protect and defend the fundamental human rights of Filipinos, especially the marginalized and oppressed,” the solons ended. ###