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[ 14 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Solon hits massive budget cut on DSWD 2018 capital outlay ]

14 August 2018

ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio opposed the budget cut of about 90% on the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) capital outlay (CO) during the hearing Wednesday on the its 2018 budget.

“This massive budget cut of almost 90% in the CO will greatly affect the direct services offered by the DSWD to vulnerable sectors such as senior citizens, children, persons with disability, women, solo parents, homeless families, and disaster victims.  The CO which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) included in the proposed budget was only P30.9 million, far below the P362.3 million in the 2017 budget or P3.4 billion that the DSWD requested from the DBM during the budget call,” Tinio pointed.

The DSWD’s infrastructure outlay of previous years ranged from P238.8 million in 2014 to P909.4 million in 2016.

The solon explained that the budget cut will hinder the DSWD’s performance of its main mandate which is providing a wide range of direct services to vulnerable sectors. “For instance, a CO of P30.9 million will not enable DSWD to repair the dilapidated centers and homes for the elderly and construct more of these institutions. Repair and construction of these centers and homes are necessary, considering that there are only 71 nationwide and not all provinces, municipalities and cities have them, according to the DSWD.  This CO cannot build and maintain public orphanages or child centers and other social welfare institutions.”

“The government should give DSWD a budget that will enable it to fulfill its various functions and mandate of ensuring social welfare and development especially to vulnerable and marginalized sectors,” Tinio stressed.  “It should not give DSWD the kind of budget that transforms it into a mere cash transfer agency.”

Tinio explained that only the ballooning funds for CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program have made DSWD consistently one of the agencies with the highest budgets.  “In reality, it is one of the agencies with the poorest funding, if we take away the CCT.  And we should, since the 4Ps is a mere safety net or band aid measure that does not really eradicate poverty.  The 4Ps should not be one of the programs of the DSWD, or the entire government, for that matter.”

The solon added that, over the years, government has been ballooning the funds for CCT to the detriment of DSWD’s other programs.  “The DSWD’s budget in 2007 was only P3.5 billion before the CCT. Then in 2008, the first implementation of CCT, DSWD budget was P11.3 billion, P298 million (3% of total DSWD budget) of which is for CCT. Then in 2011, the budget for CCT increased up to P21 billion (62%). Now, the CCT budget is P89 billion (65%). Meanwhile, all other programs and projects of DSWD are being underfunded.”

“We call for an increase in the DSWD’s CO of P3.4 billion as proposed by DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo.  Frankly, this budget cut is too much,” Tinio ended. ###

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[ 6 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on US State Department effort to exclude North Korea from ASEAN Regional Forum: ]
6 August 2017
The blatant attempt by the US State Department  to pressure members of the ASEAN Regional Forum into excluding North Korea from diplomatic discussion  and dialogue is clear proof that US imperialism is the real threat to peace and stability in our region.
Unfortunately, despite his anti-US rhetoric, Pres. Duterte is happy to sing the tune of US imperialist policy. He has placed his talent for profanity at the service of the US by  depicting North Korea and its leader Kim Jong Un as the number one threat to peace in the region, thereby justifying the further build-up of US forces in the region. Far from being the  actions of a “madman,” the development and testing of nuclear weapons by North Korea are rational responses to the threats of war and regime change coming from the US.
The reality is that it is US imperialism that poses the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. Despite the end of the Cold War, it remains at war with North Korea; it maintains a ring of military bases in Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines despite growing popular opposition to their presence, and pursued a vast military build-up against China.
It’s the United States that should remove itself from the ASEAN Regional Forum. The key to long-term peace is the withdrawal of US military presence in the Asia-Pacific, to enable the peoples of the region to chart their destiny free from US intervention. ##

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[ 4 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio on the signing into law of the free higher education bill by Pres. Duterte: ]

We hail the signing into law by President Duterte of the Universal Access to Quality Education Act. This is a historic victory in our fight for the people’s right to education.

We commend and thank President Duterte for siding with the people on this issue and repudiating the advice of his elitist economic manager, who made it clear that they wanted a presidential veto. This is concrete proof that change can only come by rejecting the neoliberal dogma of DBM Sec. Diokno and his ilk in favor of policies that prioritize people’s rights above over the free market.

Malacañang and Congress must now work together to ensure that the free tertiary education law is sufficiently funded. Since the House deliberation on the 2018 national budget is still in its preliminary stage, we call on the Executive, through the DBM, to submit a revised budget that provides for the initial implementation of the new law.

We urge the people to remain vigilant and continue to mobilize to ensure that the gains made possible through this law will be realized and preserved. Surely, the neoliberal spoilers in the Cabinet will take every opportunity to roll back what we have gained today. Tuloy ang laban para sa libre, makabayan, siyentipiko, at pangmasang edukasyon!

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[ 3 Aug 2017 | Comments Off on Sign free higher ed law, Duterte urged ]
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ACT Teachers Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro urged President Duterte to sign the Universal Access to Free Higher Education bill into law, saying that it will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education. This, after Duterte’s economic managers urged him to veto the bill.

The approved bill is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education. “Its passage by Congress is a victory of the youth, teachers and other sectors of society whose collective action pushed for a law providing for free higher education and for government to fulfill its mandate to provide accessible and quality education at all levels,” said the solons.

“We have already proven that government can provide funds to make free higher education possible when Congress allocated P8.3 Billion for free tuition in the 2017 budget,” Tinio said. “The President can now move forward and sign the bill approved by Congress, providing the Filipino youth their right to access tertiary education.”

The administration’s economic team, including budget secretary Benjamin Diokno, recommended a veto, saying that free tertiary education will have very little impact on the poor and society and that it will need P100 billion.

“We urge the President not to heed the wrong information of his advisers. In fact, tuition and other school fees are the main factors discouraging many Filipinos from going to college. Also, the 2018 projections of income from tuition and other fees is P13.2 Billion, according to the Budget of Expenditures and Sources of Financing, while CHED estimates that implementing the bill will only need around P34 Billion. Free college will therefore not cost P100 Billion, as Diokno alleges,” Castro countered.

“Any amount given to fund free higher education will be a worthwhile and long-term priority since it will contribute to the shaping of our youth and to nation building. Regular funding as ensured by a law for free tertiary education will make this possible,” Tinio ended. ###