By: Rachel C. Barawid, Sara Grace C. Fojas, Ronald S. Lim and Ina Hernando-Malipot
“Hindi natapos ‘yung role ko as a teacher. Kahit tumigil ako ng pagtuturo sa mga eskuwelahan eh nagpapatuloy pa rin ang ‘pag gampan ko sa papel bilang guro.”
(Photo credit: KJ Rosales and Manila Bulletin)
Every day, we hear stories of teachers sacrificing and risking their lives for their students, and even going beyond their duty in the classroom to quietly serve their communities.
Indeed, teaching is the noblest of professions. Certainly, behind every doctor, engineer, lawyer, architect, journalist, public official, and world leader is a brilliant teacher who continues to shape future generations with passion and dedication.
In the country though, we seldom hear of teachers being appreciated and justly compensated for their hard work and immeasurable contributions. But thanks to efforts being initiated by teacher groups such as the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party-List, the plight and needs of the Filipino teachers are slowly being addressed.
At the forefront of championing teachers’ rights and welfare is ACT Party-List Representative Antonio L. Tinio. A former instructor at the Department of English and Comparative Literature and at the Department of Filipino of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Tinio knows too well the predicament of public school teachers and the state of the Philippine education system.
Even before he became a public official, Tinio has already been advocating for the rights and needs of teachers and education workers as well as for the people’s right to quality public education. In 1994, he helped establish the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy, a national organization committed to the struggle for genuine sovereignty and democracy in the Philippines. Later, he served as National Campaign coordinator and chairperson of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the largest non-traditional organization of teachers and education workers in the country.
Tinio was among those instrumental in the increase of teachers’ salaries by P9,000, and in pushing for greater government subsidies for education. In Congress, he continues to serve as the voice of the teachers — filing bills and resolutions for their promotion and protection, including substantial salary increases and adequate benefits, refund of illegal deductions made by the Government Service Insurance System, and their regularization, among others.
While majority of his programs and bills are on education, the solon is just as passionate in fighting for corruption and pushing for national reforms. Tinio brings an educator’s perspective in the House Committees on Agrarian Reform, Appropriations, Banks and Financial Intermediaries, Foreign Affairs, Government Enterprises and Privatization, Government Reorganization, Information and Communications Technology, Public Information Rules, Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, and Women and Gender Equality.
In this 60 Minutes interview, we didn’t only get to hear Congressman Tinio’s apprehensions about the K to 12 Law and his stand on the many issues and challenges in the education sector, but we also saw how he has become the teachers’ shining symbol of hope and inspiration.
Read the full feature article from the Manila Bulletin here.