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[ 13 Apr 2016 | No Comment ]

Solon hails signing into law of poll service reform law

Implement higher pay and legal protection for BEIs, COMELEC urged

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio welcomed the signing of Republic Act 10756 or the Election Service Reform ACT (ESRA) by Pres. Aquino last April 8.

Tinio, the principal author of the law, challenged the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to immediately implement its provisions on non-compulsory election service for teachers, higher compensation package, improved benefits, and medical and legal assistance for election volunteers.

“This is a historic victory for public school teachers,” said Tinio, who first filed the bill in 2011.

“RA 10756 is dedicated to Filomena Tatlonghari, Nellie Banaag, and other teachers who gave their lives while protecting our votes,” said Tinio, referring to teachers who were killed in while serving as election workers in previous elections.  “We successfully pushed for this law also in the name of countless teachers who face tremendous risks in the line of duty every election season.”

RA 10756, with the full title An Act Rendering Election Service Non-Compulsory for Public School Teachers, Authorizing the Appointment of Other Qualified Citizens, Providing for Compensation and Other Benefits, makes election service voluntary for public school teachers and other citizens, assures increased honoraria and allowances for poll workers, and mandates benefits such as medical and legal assistance, among others.

“We now urge COMELEC, DepEd, and other concerned agencies such as the Public Attorney’s Office to implement the law to its fullest extent in time for the 2016 elections, especially the higher compensation and various benefits for our BEIs, Department of Education (DepEd) supervisors, and support staff,” stressed Tinio.

Honoraria for BEI chairpersons and members are now P6,000 and P5,000, respectively (from P3,000 in 2013); P4,000 for DepEd supervisors (from P3,000); and P2,000 for support staff (from P1,500).  These poll workers will also be given a travel allowance of P1,000 (from P500).  Teachers shall also be entitled to service credits of five days (from three days) while other poll workers shall be granted leave credits of five days.

COMELEC is mandated to give to poll workers their honoraria and allowances not later than 15 days from May 9.  Persons responsible for any delayed payment shall be liable for an election offense.

BEIs who died in the performance of election duties shall be granted P500,000 (from P200,000) while those who seek medical attention shall be entitled to such assistance as may be determined by COMELEC as sufficient for medical and hospitalization.

The law also gives poll workers the right to engage government and private lawyers should they be sued in connection to their poll duties, with costs reimbursable from COMELEC.

To guarantee the payment of all these benefits, COMELEC is tasked to establish a trust fund.###

RA 10756 page 1.tifRA 10756 pages 2-3.tifRA 10756 pages 2-3.tifRA 10756 pages 6-7.tif

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[ 24 Feb 2016 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio scored the latest case of harassment against displaced lumad in Davao City, saying that government inaction to address past violence enables further human rights violations against indigenous peoples.
“We condemn, in the strongest terms, this brazen attack on the lumad refugees in Haran. The arsonists violated the sanctuary provided by the UCCP to a group already forced to flee from their communities by relentless military operations,” said Tinio.
Tinio challenged national and local government authorities to immediately bring the perpetrators to justice.  “Impunity must not be allowed to prevail, especially since the plight of the lumad refugees in Haran has already been brought to the attention of the United Nations.”  The legislator pointed out that UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Cheloka Beyani visited the lumad in Haran last July and called for their protection against militarization.
According to an Urgent Alert sent by the Save Our Schools Network-Mindanao, unidentified men burned the Lumad evacuation camp in the Haran Mission House of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines at around 2:00 Wednesday morning, Davao City.
Five were wounded in the recent arson, including two children.  Initial investigation cited that the fire was intentional.
Controversy erupted in July last year when North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco, with the assistance of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and individuals associated with the paramilitary group known as Alamara, attempted to forcibly eject the lumad from the Haran compound.  “The harassment of the lumad seeking refuge in Haran continues unabated,” said Tinio.
Due to the attacks by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and AFP-backed paramilitaries in their upland, mine-rich communities, hundreds of indigenous peoples have sought shelter in the UCCP compound since early last year. ###

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[ 4 Feb 2016 | No Comment ]

PRESS RELEASE

4 February 2016

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

Tinio blasts Trillanes for failure to pass pay hike bill as Congress goes on break

 

ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio L. Tinio is laying the blame squarely on Senator Antonio Trillanes IV for the failure of Congress to pass the proposed law granting a new round of salary increases for state workers before it went on a four-month long recess yesterday.

 

Tinio blasted Trillanes for leaving the country in the midst of a deadlock between the chambers of Congress on the final version of the pay hike bill and as the legislature was counting down the days before going on an extended break due to the upcoming national and local elections.

 

Trillanes reportedly left for the United States “on official mission” last week.

 

Tinio pointed out that Trillanes is the chairperson of the Senate Civil Service Committee in charge of the proposed new Salary Standardization Law (SSL 4), and as such, headed the Senate delegation to the Bicameral Conference Committee tasked with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

 

“What sort of elected official goes on a trip abroad in the middle of contentious bicameral talks, making it virtually impossible for Congress to pass the bill before the recess? This is gross dereliction of duty on his part. His twisted priorities and self-indulgence means that 1.5 million government employees will not receive the salary hikes and bonuses that they desperately need,” said Tinio. “SSL 4 would have provided pay hikes from January onwards. As it stands, Congress can only work on final approval of SSL 4 when it resumes session on May 23. In the meantime, public sector employees get nothing, thanks to the good Senator.”

 

The bicameral conference between the two chambers of Congress was deadlocked after the Senate panel led by Trillanes insisted on a provision that would index the pension of military retirees to the salary increases provided in SSL 4. The House panel objected because of lack of funding. The Senate proposal would cost taxpayers an additional P18 billion for the first year of implementation. “The responsible thing to do would have been to settle the issue before leaving. But as far as Senator Trillanes is concerned, it appears that a so-called ‘international forum’ in the United States is more important than addressing the day-to-day needs of the country’s civil servants, who last received a salary adjustment in 2012.”

 

Tinio noted that P58 billion has been set aside in the 2016 national budget for salary increases and bonuses and incentives of the country’s 1.5 million government employees. However, the increases cannot be implemented without the enactment of SSL 4.

 

Tinio also criticized Senate President Franklin Drilon for authorizing Trillanes’ departure and failing to resolve the impasse before the recess. “Is the Senate a collegial body where rule by majority prevails, or is it an exclusive club where the welfare of millions of Filipinos can be held hostage by the whims of one Senator?” ###

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[ 27 Jan 2016 | No Comment ]
PRESS RELEASE
27 January 2015
 
Solon hails passage of bill making election service non-compulsory for teachers
 
ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio hailed the passage of the Election Service Reform Act (ESRA) by Congress, with yesterday’s adoption by the House of amendments made by the Senate.
 
The ESRA makes election service voluntary for public school teachers and other citizens, increases the honoraria for poll workers, and mandates benefits such as medical and legal assistance, among others. Tinio is the principal author of ESRA.
 
“This is a historic victory for public school teachers, who have long clamored to make election service voluntary instead of compulsory. While teachers have discharged the burden of obligatory election service well, their ranks have also paid the price. We dedicate the passage of this law to the memory of Filomena Tatlonghari, Nellie Banaag, and other teachers who gave their lives while serving in elections,” said Tinio.
 
Tatlonghari was killed in a ballot box-snatching incident in Mabini, Batangas in 1995, while Banaag died when her school was burned down by armed men during the 2007 elections.
 
Tinio likewise acknowledged the support of the House leadership, particularly Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, and House Suffrage and Electoral Reforms Committee chair Rep. Fredenil Castro for the passage of the bill. “Their support was crucial in securing House approval, given the limited session days remaining and the difficulty of achieving a quorum,” noted Tinio.
 
Tinio further lauded the efforts of various teachers’ groups, as well as the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) and the Center for Political Economy, Foundation for Economic Freedom in campaigning for the passage of ESRA. “Their tireless lobbying was the decisive factor in convincing the House and Senate to enact ESRA.”
 
Under the Congress-approved bill, election service shall be performed by public school on a voluntary basis. In case of a lack of public school teachers, the COMELEC may appoint the following, in the order of preference: private school teachers; national government employees, excluding military personnel; members of COMELEC-accredited citizens’ arms; and any qualified registered voter with no partisan political affiliations. PNP personnel shall be appointed as a last resort if no other qualified voters are willing to serve.
 
ESRA also mandates COMELEC, within 30 days of the law’s effectivity, to determine if there is still material time to implement non-compulsory election service in the 2016 national and local elections. Otherwise, it will take effect in the next polls.
The measure raises the honoraria for BEI chairman from P3,000 to P6,000; for BEI members from P3,000 to P5,000; for Department of Education supervisors from P3,000 to P4,000 and for support staff from P1,500 to P2,000. They will also be given a travel allowance of P1,000, double the amount granted in 2013.
 
Tinio assured that the passage of ESRA will not result in a shortage of election workers. “Considering the increase in honoraria and the solid package of benefits and legal assistance, teachers opting out of election service will be the exception, rather than the rule. Teachers will continue to serve in the overwhelming majority of polling precincts nationwide, and they will do an even better job.”
 
“We urge Pres. Aquino to sign this historic measure as soon as possible,” concluded Tinio.” ###