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[ 9 Sep 2014 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

8 September 2014

Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

 

Citing the reality that low pay takes lives, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and representatives of education workers demanded for immediate substantial salary increases for public sector employees.  This call coincided with the briefing for DepEd’s proposed 2015 budget Monday afternoon and the Grand Lobbying for Salary Increase of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, the second lobby effort this year at the Lower House for the immediate passage of pending bills for pay hikes for education workers and other government employees.

 

“It is not only loan sharks like PO3 Domino Alipio who kill and maim public school teachers and other state workers,” said Tinio, referring to a policeman who went on a shooting rampage in Pangasinan National High School after failing to collect payments for usurious loans from its teachers.  “By refusing to enact salary increases despite the continuing rise of the cost of living, the government itself is the very cause of the suffering of its employees.”

 

Tinio stressed that the 2015 budget is the right opportunity to make immediate pay hikes possible, and that the recent junking of four impeachment complaints against him proves that he could push Congress, which is led by his party and coalition allies, to do anything if he wants to or if it would be to his benefit.

 

“This time, we dare him to push Congress to do what is to the benefit of the people—to amend the 2015 budget bill with a provision for salary increases.”

 

Tinio has previously slammed Malacanang for its refusal to back proposed legislated salary increases despite a legal mandate to enact pay increases in the annual budget and resounding support from solons both in the Lower House and the Senate.  To date, Tinio’s House Bill 245 or the proposed hike to P25,000 and P15,000 of the salaries of teachers and non-teaching employees, respectively, has garnered the support of 121 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives.

 

He also noted that the Aquino government should take the Pangasinan shooting as a wake-up call to ease its employees’ economic woes.  “Hindi na dapat niyang hintayin na may mapaslang o masaktan muli sa hanay ng mga guro at kawaning lubog sa utang dahil hindi na makaagapay ang kanilang sweldo sa para sa araw-araw nilang gastusin.  At lalong hindi na dapat hintayin ang election year bago niya bigyan ng hustisya ang mga biktima ng Pangasinan shooting at iba pang biktimang kawani sa buong bansa na nagtitiis sa kakarampot na sahod.”  ###

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[ 13 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

Inday Varona:

PDAF ‘dead’? Well, gov’t has raised the zombie

“Everybody screams about patronage politics in this country. Where do you think the money for that comes from?

“There are two very good reasons to get rid of pork:

  • Government, or its executive branch, is mandated to ensure the efficient and rational delivery of basis services to the people, by way of proposing and then implementing the budget;
  • We know that elected officials, especially legislators, channel pork to reward their supporters or lure in new ones.

“Through this miasma of discretionary power runs the infamous “weather-weather lang” character of Philippine governance. This rot is what makes decisions of both elected and voters a matter of tribal strength rather than of justice or efficiency.

“We scream against patronage politics and yet we shrug off the reality of millions of poor Filipinos having to throw themselves at the mercy of politicians to get what is their by right under the Constitution.”

Read more at Ms. Varona’s blog.

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[ 8 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

News Release

August 8, 2014

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

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio slammed agrarian reform officials for their illegal juggling of funds in the Department of Agrarian Reform budget.

This illegal realignment surfaced when DAR employees failed to receive their salaries for July.  According to the employees, the DBM informed them that it was awaiting requirements for a proposed juggling of over P400 million in the DAR’s current budget.

As revealed by Tinio during the DAR’s budget hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations yesterday, the proposal was contained in a letter dated June 10, 2014, signed by DAR Undersecretary Perry Villanueva with the approval of Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, endorsing “the recalibration of the DAR’s 2014 targets and budget in relation to the approved 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).”  (Please see the four-page letter in the attached file.)

The “recalibration” calls for the transfer of P412.447 million appropriated by the 2014 GAA from the regional offices to the DAR Central Office.  The letter cites as reasons for the so-called recalibration “critical activities that need fast and immediate actions…not funded under the GAA.”  It also said that “there is also a need to conduct an Impact Assessment of CARP for its 25 years of implementation,” adding that “the program is “urgent but not funded under the 2014 GAA.”  The new activities to be funded under the recalibrated budget include “LAD [Land Acquisition and Distribution] activities for Hacienda Luisita” and “DAR-NAPC Partnership.”  (Full list in Annex A of the letter.)

Upon Tinio’s questioning, DAR officials said that the proposal has already been approved by the DBM.

“What the President does, his Cabinet officials will do as well. If the President usurps the power of the purse of Congress and aggressively justifies the same to the public, is it any wonder that DAR officials now feel entitled to do the same?” said Tinio. “The President committed unconstitutional acts through his Disbursement Acceleration Program. Now DAR officials appear to be committing similar acts through so-called budget recalibration.”

The lawmaker noted that “there’s no such animal as recalibration” in the laws and regulations pertaining to budget execution. “It’s a new-fangled term invented by DAR to justify illegal juggling of funds appropriated for specific purposes by Congress. It’s actually technical malversation, a criminal act prohibited by the Revised Penal Code.”

“The Supreme Court decision on DAP reminded us of the basic tenet of the Constitution that ‘no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.’ And yet we have the DAR asking that its current budget be used for activities not funded under the 2014 GAA, not just once but twice in the same letter. What’s worse is that the DBM approved it. It seems clear that this Administration really thinks of the Constitution as a mere scrap of paper,” said Tinio.

Tinio pointed out that the DAR “recalibration” directly relates to the ongoing debate on the Aquino administration’s proposed redefinition of savings and augmentation. “This is exactly what will happen if Congress adopts Malacañang’s DAP-inspired redefinition of savings and augmentation. Agencies will feel free to disregard the appropriations given to them as a mandate by Congress and craft their own budgets without Congressional authorization. This subverts transparency and undermines effective oversight on the use of the people’s money.”

Upon Tinio’s motion, the Committee on Appropriations resolved that DAR and DBM would be summoned for another hearing to explain the so-called recalibration.

“We cannot remain silent in the face of another usurpation of the powers of the purse by the President and his alter egos,” concluded Tinio. ###

[Attachments: 4 pages of the DAR letter containing the approved recalibration]

 

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[ 6 Aug 2014 | No Comment ]

PRESS STATEMENT

August 5, 2014

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

 

Salary hikes for government employees are possible–but only if the Aquino government, after it conducts a long-delayed review of the pay schedule for state workers, finds them “feasible.”

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio slammed today the statement of the Aquino administration, aired by the Department of Budget and Management, which said that government needs to study first the compensation classification system (CCS) of government employees before it can propose pay increases.  The DBM said it will probably have its findings ready by 2016.

The administration issued this statement as its response to 39 bills heard today by the House Committee on Appropriations calling for increases in the salaries and benefits of government employees, including Tinio’s House Bill 245 for teachers and non-teaching staff in basic education, HB 246 for instructors and professors in universities and colleges, and HB 250 for a P4,000 monthly Personnel Economic Relief Allowance.  Also included is HB 3015 calling for an additional P6,000 in the minimum pay of all government employees.

Said Tinio, “This statement proves that this administration does not heed the loud clamor of state workers for immediate economic relief.  It refuses to include provisions for salary increases in its proposed budgets, like the one its recently submitted to Congress for 2015.”

“Secondly, its belated review of the CCS shows that this administration violated another law–the Salary Standardization Law 3–and trampled the rights of government employees workers to adequate compensation in the process.”

Section 1(e) of Joint Resolution No. 4 or the SSL 3 mandates government to conduct a periodic review of the salary scale every three years upon effectivity of the law, taking into consideration “the possible erosion in the purchasing power due to inflation,” among other factors.

“The fact remains that workers in the government need salary increases because of the high costs of living, not because DBM or Aquino says so.  They need pay hikes now, not in 2016,” Tinio added.

Tinio urged Congress to urgently act on the 39 proposed measures increasing the compensation for government employees in the face of Malacañang’s insensitivity to the plight of teachers and other government employees.  ###