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[ 23 Jun 2017 | No Comment ]

While “fake news” has gained currency, due mainly to the easy accessibility of social media, it’s not new. Misinformation, propaganda, and malicious speech have been around for as long as there’s been mass media. For the most part, they fall within freedom of expression.

Nevertheless, there are already existing laws that penalize abuse of this right, such as laws on libel or the code of ethics of government officials.

The fake news bill in the Senate takes an overly broad definition of “fake news” and thus could substantially limit the right to free expression and freedom of the press. The proliferation of fake news is better countered through education, self-regulation by the mass media, and judicious application of existing laws.###

Activities, Features, Headline, News »

[ 16 Jun 2017 | No Comment ]
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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged the Duterte administration to increase the salaries of teachers and other government workers, as they joined the teachers’ mobilization at the Department of Budget and Management Friday.

“Today, we support the just and resounding call of teachers and non-teaching personnel, as well as the rest of those making up the bureaucracy, for salaries that can afford them decent lives,” Castro said. “We are bothered that, even after nearly a year, we do not see the same support from the Duterte administration.”

Castro noted that President Duterte’s Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 is silent as to salary increases for government personnel, majority of whom are teachers and non-teaching staff.

“We call on President Duterte to issue an unequivocal support for this just demand,” said Tinio. “Since his budget chief Benjamin Diokno expressed an aversion to this demand, President Duterte himself should place as a top priority legislated salary increases greater than the one started by Aquino through his Executive Order 201.”

The solons last year scored Diokno for saying, during the 2017 budget deliberations, that salary increases for public school teachers is “too ambitious.”

“Merely continuing EO 201 is not enough as it gives loose change only for our teachers and other rank-and-file personnel while giving large increases for executives and high ranking officials. We reiterate our demand for P25,000 for Teacher 1 and P16,000 for our personnel,” Castro said. “Our teachers and personnel in the education sector are our front liners and do more than teach our children their school lessons. With today’s rising prices of basic goods and services, they need more than what we are giving them now.”

The demand for P16,000 monthly minimum salary is also the call of other government employees.

“We call on all teachers and government workers to unite and fight for their right for sufficient salaries and benefits in the coming State of the Nation Address of President Duterte. Let us also make them hear our demands in the coming 2018 budget proposal,” Tinio said. “As for President Duterte, we challenge him to prove to our teachers that his promises for salary increases will not stay as a campaign promise.” ###

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Features, Headline, In The News, News »

[ 2 Jun 2017 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on DBM Secretary Diokno’s recommendation to veto chalk allowance hike

We’re dismayed that at this early stage, DBM Secretary Diokno is already talking about vetoing the increase in the so-called chalk allowance as prjovided in a bill recently passed in the Senate. The counterpart measure in the House hasn’t even been discussed yet.

His justification that many public schools now use whiteboards belies an utter ignorance of the situation on the ground. Aside from its patent inaccuracy, the annual “chalk allowance’ is used by teachers to pay, not just for chalk, but for other teaching supplies required in the classroom everyday, and which government does not provide them.

Despite the fact that we have been able to successfully raise the chalk allowance from a measly P700 per year in 2011 to P2, 500 currently through yearly interventions in the budget hearings, it’s still not enough, and public school teachers continue to pay for teaching supplies out of pocket. Hence, the necessity of enacting the hike. Our own proposal in the House is ready for swift passage.

This proposal will cost the government P1.5 billion at best. It’s unfortunate that Sec. Diokno has chosen to direct his niggardly penny-pinching at teachers.###

Features, Headline, News »

[ 1 Jun 2017 | No Comment ]
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ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio and Rep. France Castro lauded the ratification of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education in the plenary sessions of the Lower House and the Senate Monday and Tuesday.  They urged President Duterte to immediately sign the bill into law so the youth can avail of free college as soon as possible.
The ratified bill exempts from tuition and miscellaneous and other school fees students in bachelor degree and undergraduate courses in state universities and colleges (SUCs) and local universities and colleges (LUCs) and students in post-secondary technical-vocational education training leading to non-degree and diploma programs of state technical vocational institutions (TVIs).  It also provides for tertiary education subsidy (TES) to students in undergraduate post-secondary courses in SUCs, LUCs, private higher education institutions, and TVIs.  The TES covers allowances for books, supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses related to education aside from tuition and other school fees.
Tinio, a member of the bicameral panel that finalized the bill prior to ratification, said that the bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education.
“We credit this victory to the collective action of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society who pushed for government to fulfil its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels including tertiary education,” he said.  “We maintain our vigilance to ensure that, once enacted, free college will be properly implemented and sufficiently funded.”
“We now urge President Duterte to make the signing of this bill his top priority and to provide more funds to SUCs and other HEIs starting with the 2018 budget.  We call on his administration to include the funds necessary to implement free higher education in the proposed 2018 budgets of our SUCs, the Commission on Higher and Education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority,” stressed Castro, noting that the Executive branch is now finalizing its proposal for next year’s budget.  “Let us send more youth to college, Mr. President.”
“We hope that the Duterte administration will also prioritize attaining a nationalist, scientific, and mass-oriented education,” Castro added.  “Free higher education is only the first step, but government has to also establish an education system that is democratized and serves national sovereignty, industrial modernization, and economic redistribution.  It should espouse among the youth a critical culture to fight dogma and discourses that legitimize social injustice.” ###