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[ 28 Nov 2016 | No Comment ]
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PRESS STATEMENT
25 November 2016
Reference: ACT TEACHERS Party-List Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (09209220817) and Rep. France L. Castro (09209698457)

ACT Teachers Party-List Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro, with the broad alliance of teachers, students and educators under the Education Sector Against the Revival of the Marcoses join the nationwide Black Friday Protest at Rizal Park to strongly condemn the recent hero’s burial of Marcos and to denounce the blatant historical revisionism.

“The education sector cannot ignore the historical revisionism happening right now. The decision overturned history as it declared that Marcos deserves a hero’s burial when in fact history already judged him as a plunderer, murderer, fascist, and criminal,” Tinio stressed.

“The Marcoses have several sins to the people especially to the education sector. Most of the problems faced by schools such as low budgets, lack of facilities, large class sizes, and other perennial problems were brought by Marcos or worsened during his reign, so we cannot condone the rehabilitation of his image nor that of his family. Until now, we are still paying the foreign debts,” Castro said.

The solons cited the Education Act which Marcos enacted in 1982. “This law started the privatization in the education sector and subjected the youth’s right to profit-orientation,” Castro added.

Citing a study of independent think tank Ibon, Tinio recalled that Marcos bloated foreign debt nearly 30 times from $1 billion in 1966 to $28 billion in 1986, trapping the country into a cycle of growing debts. Filipinos will be paying for Marcos debts alone until 2025.

The Marcos regime plundered $5 to $10 billion of ill-gotten wealth. The PCGG recovered only $4.2 billion. “This money came from the people, could be used by the people,” said the solon. “It can fund a lot for social services including education, minimize if not remove shortages in our schools but until now the Marcoses are intentionally keeping the ill-gotten wealth.”

The foreign debts that mostly were plundered by the Marcoses resulted to compounded problems in terms of finances. Because of it, every administration after Marcos up to President Duterte had been prioritizing the debt servicing rather than allocating the highest budget to the education as mandated by the 1987 Constitution.

“The low allocation of budget to education resulted to perennial problems such as huge class sizes, shortages, freezed salary increase and other issues that has an impact to the quality of education we have. Even the materials of teachers such as chalk and other instructional materials came from their pockets. The underfunding is the continuing result of the debts incurred and it will greatly affect our salaries and benefits,” Tinio added.

“For us, all our teachers and students, even those who were not yet born then, are victims of Marcos and Martial Law, because until now we are experiencing the emerging problems created then. So we encourage every teacher, student, and educator to condemn in all possible ways the recognition of Marcos as a hero and the blatant revision of history,” Tinio said. ###

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[ 24 Aug 2016 | No Comment ]
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NEWS RELEASE
24 August 2016
Reference: Rep. France L. Castro (0920-969-8457)

Castro: Rechannel PBB funds to salary increases

Due to the Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) scheme’s divisive and discriminatory character, Rep. Castro urged the rechanneling of 16.7B PBB funds to salary increase during the Development Budget Coordinating Committee (DBCC) presentation of the 2017 Budget on Monday.

ACT Teachers Party-List had so long decried the divisive, deceptive and discriminatory character of this system which purports to improve efficiency of government agencies’ functions. “This system creates an atmosphere of competition among employees instead of harmonious cooperation towards providing quality public service to the people,” Castro said.

Due to the lawmakers’ incessant prodding at the new administration’s decision to continue and even increase the PBB funds, DBM Undersecretary Laura Pascua agreed to give reports assessing PBB’s role in improving the efficiency of government agencies and agreed to review guidelines in granting PBB.

Moreover, Castro explained that PBB discriminates rank-and-file government employees because the amount of bonus for each employee depend on his/her salary.

“The PBB scheme is especially unfair to the public school teachers since the criteria used to measure their performance are the NAT scores of the school, drop-out rate, and liquidation capability and expenditure of the schools’ MOOE. Such parameters do not center on evaluating the quality of teacher factor,” Castro ended.

The PBB is part of ex-DBM Sec. Abad’s Performance-Based Incentive System [PBIS] along with PEI, established through EO No. 80, s. 2012 which adopted the Results-Based Performance Monitoring System (RBPMS)—a major governance reform that puts premium in the improvement of the performance management. The previous administration had allotted huge amount of funds to this scheme (14.6B in 2015 and 13.5B for 2016).###

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[ 18 Aug 2016 | No Comment ]

18 August 2016
PRESS STATEMENT
Reference: Rep. France L. Castro

Rep. France Castro on DBM Sec. Diokno’s anti-poor statement

Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party-List denounced DBM Sec. Benjamin Diokno’s ‘anti-poor statement’ when he said “there is no urgency” in giving salary increases to teachers and nurses, yesterday in an Anti-Poverty Summit in Davao. Castro is also dismayed after Sec. Diokno announced that only members of AFP and PNP will have a PhP 5,000 allowance and rice allowance every month starting September and assured that uniformed men’s salary increase be granted by January 2017.

“It’s really alarming that the secretary said this in an anti-poverty event considering that quality education and health services are components of the ‘war against poverty’ being waged by the current administration,” Castro said as she asserted that teachers and nurses play important roles in poverty alleviation.

Castro underscored the fact that teachers and nurses along with other government employees are burdened with the perennial increases of the price of basic commodities faced by cops and military.

The lawmaker emphasizes insufficiency of the PhP 19,077 current monthly salary of entry-level teachers amidst the rising cost of living. Researchers found that PhP 1,093 is required to support a family of 6 per day.

“Teachers only have PhP 3,500-6,000 to as net take home pay each month. This dire state of their financial capacity pushes them to get loans and even pawn their ATM accounts. Teachers had historically fallen trapped in this cycle of indebtedness,” Castro stressed.

Castro condemned this notion that the uniformed service ought to be first since all government employees are equally important in nation building.

The lawmaker also reminds Sec. Diokno of constitutional mandate Art. 14, Sec. 5, Par. 5 to “assign the highest budgetary priority to education and ensure that teaching will attract and retain its rightful share of the best available talents through adequate remuneration and other means of job satisfaction and fulfillment.” ###

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[ 23 Sep 2015 | No Comment ]
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