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[ 10 Jul 2012 | No Comment ]

Press Statement: July 9, 2012

Spokesperson: Mr. Benjie Valbuena, Vice-Chairperson
Cellphone Nos.: 09162294515
Media Liaison – Zenie Lao, Cellphone No. 0919819890

President Benigno Aquino III has signed the executive order (EO) detailing the government’s much-awaited policy on mining, Malacañang announced Saturday. Mr. Aquino had indicated a preference for increasing the government’s share in the revenue from the mining industry.
“But we teachers believe it is another rhetoric and in fact indicative of the Aquino government’s capitulation to corporate interests: it has now softened on its proposal to increase royalty tax collections from mines, proclaiming that it will not impose the 5 percent tax increase for the time being,” Mr. Benjamin Valbuena , Vice-president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said.
To increase administrative fees such as occupational and application fees as proposed is not the key question but who will benefit with our motherland’s natural resources. Even the presence of the proposed Mineral Development Councils where representation of genuine people’s organizations and NGOs is marginalized will not guarantee benefits for the affected communities.
Aside from that, the move to harmonize local and national laws is clearly a move to override local environmental codes that prohibit destructive mining operations in concerned lands, such as the method of open-pit mining that industry lobbyists claim to be sustainable. This definitely will spell more disaster for the people because mine sites to be converted into mineral reservations displaces potential livelihood such as agricultural lands or fisheries. It is so because only mining activities are prioritized.
The provisions of this impending EO are just more of the same old policies formed in the image of the Mining Act of 1995. As long as this national law remains in place, companies will still be allowed to repatriate up to 100 percent of their invested capital prior to taxation, imposed excise taxes are still at a very low 2 percent, and corporations are still granted various anti-environment, anti-people concessions such as timber rights, water rights, easement rights and access to private lands and concession areas.
Teachers also noted spate of killings and other human rights violations (HRVs) on environmental activists involve the mining sector. 44 out of 56 HRVs documented since 2001 involve anti-mining activists, including three of the latest four cases during the “Bloody May” spate of killings just last month. The EO will only lead to the perpetuation of this impunity
Aquino instead should address the social, economic and environmental impacts inherent in the profit-oriented mining industry. We teachers are one with the peasants, small-scale miners, church people, scientists and environmental advocates to continue building the strategic campaign against mining plunder, seek justice for the victims of environment-related HRVs, closure of destructive mines and push for the building of a nationalized and people-oriented mining industry.
‘We all know for a fact that there no so-called “responsible miners” in an industry run by big mining corporations. But with this new EO on mining of Aquino and his minions,  a new breed of ruthless coddlers of exploiters” were born,” Mr.Benjie Valbuena of ACT ended. #####

News »

[ 10 Jul 2012 | One Comment ]
Press Statement: July 9, 2012
Spokesperson: Mr. Benjie Valbuena, Vice-Chairperson;  Cellphone Nos.: 09162294515
Media Liaison – Zenie Lao, Cellphone No. 0919819890

The retiring and outstanding teacher of Pura V. Kalaw Elementary School did not expect that she will become a victim of robbery and attempted sexual molestation in her own classroom while doing her instructional materials for tomorrow’s lesson. She had an overtime so that she would not bring her work at home.
Last July 2 at around 2:30pm, the school janitor’s son, Christian Durolfo, 21 years old and former student of the school robbed and attempted to sexually molest Mrs. Adeluisa Ong Kitane, Master Teacher II and teacher of grade 1. Durolfo tried to molest Mrs. Kitane by forcing her to remove her clothes while he is also removing his shirt and pants. Mrs. Kitane has a presence of mind that she told him he is like a grandchild to her that’s why Christian, who is under the influence of drugs, stopped.  Aside from this incident, Durolfo tried to lock her in the classroom’s comfort room but did not succeed when Mrs. Kitane pleaded to him.
Durolfo used a long knife to intimidate Mrs. Kitane. And before the incident, another teacher saw him roaming around the school near the flower box In front of Mrs. Kitane’s room. According to other teachers, this is not the first time that this kind of incident happened in this school, there were 3 cases of stealing but this is the worst incident that almost took the life or endangered the safety of a teacher.
The following day Mrs. Kitane has no choice but to go to school despite the incident because she has to teach her students who did not like other teacher to teach them. Even if her life is in danger because of Durolfo’s threat still Mrs. Kitane endures it. She was traumatized by the incident that she cannot use her classroom’s comfort room and she is being fetched by her son.
Until now, the suspect is not yet apprehended. Even though this is the case, still Mrs. Kitane has to teach. She will soon retire on April 2013.
The school does not have any security personnel to secure the teachers and especially the elementary students. This is a common situation for other schools; they suffer from lack of security because of the small budget allotted in Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses (MOOE) that includes the security personnel and other expenses.
The station commander of the police precinct near the school should provide a police security detail while the case is not yet solved and immediately dispatch a follow up unit to arrest the suspect in its known whereabouts.#####

Activities »

[ 6 Jul 2012 | No Comment ]
5 JULY 2012
Dear ACT Scholar,
Please be informed that you may now claim your ACT scholarship paycheck at the U.P. cashier, which is temporarily holding office at UP ISSI, Verata Hall, U.P. DIliman.
A valid I.D. will be required during transaction process.

News »

[ 5 Jul 2012 | No Comment ]

Press Release: July 5, 2012
Reference:  Mr. Benjie Valbuena, Vice-Chairperson, Cellphone No.   09162294515

“President Benigno Aquino III must have been brandishing his signature wry smile when he opened his pay envelop last payday while on one hand across the country, contractual and volunteer teachers have already “sold” their next month’s income to be able to survive themselves and their families, Mr. Benjie Valbuena,” Vice-president of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) said.
“Last year, more than a million new kindergarten students and thousands of volunteer teachers suffered. Teachers were contracted to receive P3000 only per session as an allowance for teaching kindergarten and yet their measly allowances were delayed for as long as six months.  They receive an allowance which is four times less than the minimum wage law,” Mr. Valbuena continued.
ACT insists that education reforms should start with ensuring the democratic rights and welfare of teachers. It is so because teachers have the biggest impact on student learning. Hence, ACT strongly denounces President Benigno Aquino III’s policy to pay kinder volunteer teachers with P3000/session only. Those teachers must be given regular items since President Benigno Aquino III and his minions crafted the K to 12 education program. The Universal Kindergarten is a national plan which is now a Law and, therefore, teachers hired under this program must be paid accordingly.
President Benigno Aquino III cannot also dismiss the importance of class size which is one of the most important indicator of how well children perform in school.  Sad to say, our public school system is literally bursting to the seams.  We have pointed earlier the basic inputs on education that this administration must address.
President Aquino will deliver his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23rd and teachers will definitely come to join the multi-sectoral rally to press for genuine reforms in education and pro-people policies for the Filipino people in general.
“To speak of desired quality without concrete actions like allocation of higher budget for the gross shortages in teachers, classrooms, textbooks, seats  and sanitation facilities and the framework itself of his K to 12 Education Program, President Benigno Aquino III then is misleading us teachers,” Mr.Valbuena added.
“We cannot simply afford to just listen because the future of our students and our country are in the hands of President Benigno Aquino III.  At this point, two years after his first SONA, and his failure to address teachers and people’s basic issues and demands, we are already recommending his expulsion from the People’s University. “Mr. Valbuena ended.#####