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[ 4 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]

ACT Teachers Representative France Castro welcomes the signing of the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education by President Duterte today.

“This law is a product of the long-standing campaign for free higher education and a greater budget for education,” said Castro. “Finally, we have a law that will ensure regular funding for free college and greater access of the youth to higher education.”

“We call on our fellow legislators to include the appropriate funding for the bill in the 2018 General Appropriations Act we are currently deliberating,” the solon ended. ###

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[ 1 Aug 2017 | No Comment ]


01 August 2017


Solon dismayed: No substantial salary increase for government employees in 2018 budget

The Duterte administration did not propose funds for substantial salary increases of government employees in the first full-year budget it prepared, revealed ACT Teachers Representative France Castro.

“Aside from the meager increases to be given under the third tranche of Executive Order 201 or the Salary Standardization Law 4, the Duterte administration will not be giving any substantial salary increases for government employees,” said Castro.  “This is disheartening for the 1.6 million employees in the civil service, especially the rank-and-file.”

The EO 201 or SSL 4, enacted during the Aquino administration, is now in its second tranche of implementation, with P19,620 monthly for entry-level public school teachers and P9,981 for the lowest-paid government employee.  The 2018 budget proposal will implement the third tranche, which will hike the salaries of teachers and to P20,179 and P10,510, respectively, or by a mere 2.8%.

The teacher-solon said that teachers and other government employees have long been demanding for salary increases higher than that provided by EO 201.  Teachers, for instance, are being given an average of an additional P551.25, or around P21 per day, under SSL 4.

“The whole bureaucracy expected a salary increase based on the promise that change is coming. Teachers were assured by President Duterte last July 2016 that they will be next for salary increase.  Yet, here we are, more than a year later, and it appears that mere loose change is coming and it seems that he has no intention to fulfill his promise,” Castro said.

“His proposed budget proves that President Duterte just aims to continue the paltry increases from the previous administration’s SSL 4.  We cannot agree to this because this is far from the decent salary we have long been demanding—P25,000 for entry-level teachers and P16,000 as minimum salary in the public sector,” Castro added.

The solon also scored the rightsizing plan recently approved in the Lower House. “Instead of answering the just call for salary increases, the Duterte administration will hit government employees with a rightsizing plan which is no different from the rationalization plans of previous administrations which resulted in massive layoffs, displacement, and contractualization of government employees, further privatization and abolition of necessary government services, freeze hiring.  It caused government employees now to overwork and multitask,” Castro said.

Castro urged her colleagues in Congress to amend the proposed 2018 budget and include substantial salary increases for teachers and other government employees.  ###

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[ 26 Jul 2017 | No Comment ]


26 July 2017


ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro on the approval of House Bill 5707 or the Government Rightsizing Bill


We condemn the approval of HB 5707 for the rightsizing of national government agencies as this will be no different from the rationalization schemes of past administrations which caused untold damages to government workers and to public service.  Instead of answering the just demand of government employees and workers for salary increase and regularization, government through rightsizing will only effect massive layoffs, retrenchment, and displacement, and worsen contractualization.  The proponents including the DBM admitted that 16% of the 1.6 million total government positions—or 255,295 state workers—will be affected in the first year alone.


Rightsizing will further deteriorate public services since necessary personnel complement in frontline offices will be thinned.  Those who will remain in government service, including teaching and medical positions which allegedly “will not be affected,” will not be spared as they will be forced to shoulder heavier workloads.  Government agencies will hire more and more personnel on contracts of service (COS) and job orders (JO) who will not be considered as government employees and will not be paid the salaries and job security as such.  After the previous rationalization programs and the imposition of freeze hiring, we have seen an unprecedented increase in JO and COS workers.  Their number has already reached 595,192 by 2016, and this will increase even more with DBM-CSC-COA Joint Circular # 1, or the new rules and regulations governing the hiring on COSs and JOs.


Lastly, rightsizing is part of the continuing neoliberal policy framework of cutbacks on government social spending and attacks on jobs and job security and public sector union rights.


Instead of firing people, what the Duterte administration has to do to are to adequately fund its programs, fill up vacancies, and create more plantilla positions.  Instead of removing regular employees, it should give tenure to non-regular employees and provide for their benefits.


We call on all government workers and employees and the rest of the people to express outrage against this latest addition of anti-people measures and policies of the Duterte administration. ###


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[ 22 Jul 2017 | Comments Off on ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio’s NO Vote Speech Against the Proposal to Extend Martial Law in Mindanao ]

Walang sapat na batayan ayon sa konstitusyon ang ekstensyon ng martial law and suspension of writ of habeas corpus. Malinaw po na umiiral nang buo at 100%, walang bawas walang kulang, ang gobyernong sibilyan, maging antas nasyunal o lokal sa kabuuan ng Mindanao. Kaya kailangan po itaguyod ng Kongresong ito ang prinsipyo ng civilian supremacy over the military.


Pangalawa po, bumoto ako ng NO, alang-alang sa mahigit kalahating milyong mga kababayan natin na karamihan ay Muslim na napilitang lumikas at ngayon ay nasa gitna ng humanitarian crisis. Totoo pong dapat labanan at sugpuin ang terrorist acts ng Abu Sayyaf at ng iba pa sa Marawi pero kailangan rin natin kilalanin na kaya po may humanitarian crisis ay dahil po sa  all-out war approach ng Duterte administration sa ilalim ng martial law — ang pagbobomba o aerial bombardment, ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit tayo may humanitarian crisis.


Huling punto po, hindi po solusyon ang martial law sa armed rebellion sa Mindanao. Yan na  po ang itinuro ng ating kasaysayan. Only a political solution, kailangan pong tugunan ang kahirapan, trabaho, edukasyon, kalusugan, katarungan. Hindi po martial law ang kailangan ng Mindanao kaya po bumoto ako ng no. ###