Alliance of Concerned Teachers relief mission

in Novaliches, Quezon City

 

October 17, 20098

 

 

   
   
   
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Photos courtesy of Alliance of Concerned Teachers
     
     
     
           

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ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS

2/F Napoleon Pornasdoro Bldg., Mines St. cor. Dipolog St., Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City, Philippines

Telefax  453-9116  Mobile 0920-9220817 Email  act_philippines@yahoo.com Website  www.actphils.com

Member, Education International

 

 

October 19, 2009

NEWS RELEASE

Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)

      ACT Chairperson

 

ACT conducts relief mission in Novaliches, Quezon City

 

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers and ACT Teachers’ Partylist conducted a relief mission in Katrina, Villareal, Barangay Gulod in Novaliches, Quezon City last Saturday, October 17.

 

The relief goods, consisting of rice, canned goods, instant noodle packs, bottled water, and used clothing, were generated from solicitations by public school teachers in Malabon and Quezon City as well as the All-UP Workers’ Union and the ACT national office. The teachers worked with the Katrina neighborhood association in cooperation with Gabriela-NCR to organize the mission.

 

The residents of Katrina live on the banks of a creek. During tropical storm Ondoy, a powerful deluge overtopped the banks and engulfed the community in floodwaters that were over two storeys high. A number of houses were washed away completely and residents had to scramble to the handful of third-storey rooftops in the area to survive. Using a makeshift raft made out of plywood, a number of men were able to ferry many of their neighbors, including all the children, to safety. Junie Latoza, 22 years old, saved the lives of many children before he was overcome by exhaustion and drowned. His body was found in the mud when the floodwaters subsided.

 

A brief program was held in the community as part of the mission. Community members shared some of their experiences and their stories of survival, and a few moments of silence were spared to honor the memory of Junie Latoza. Afterwards, relief packages were distributed to 200 families.

 

ACT national chairperson Antonio Tinio noted that the government has so far failed to give any assistance to the residents of Katrina. “The hundreds of victims of Ondoy and Pepeng are victims not just of natural calamities but of the Arroyo government’s overall failure to provide safe homes, jobs, and adequate social services to the poor over the past decade.”

 

ACT continues to solicit donations for relief goods. Please contact Zeny at 0919-8198903 or email us at act_philippines@yahoo.com. #

 

     
     
           
     
     
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Invest in teachers to attain quality public education
Statement for World Teachers’ Day 2009

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers salutes teachers today, World Teachers’ Day 2009. This year’s theme, “Invest in Teachers,” aptly underscores the need for governments all over the world to provide teachers with the resources and support necessary to attain quality education for all.

Such a call goes against the grain of the neoliberal economic regimes being enforced by governments throughout the world, such as privatization, deregulation, liberalization, and concomitant reductions in public spending on social services. In the Philippines, the Arroyo government has imposed tight controls on public sector salaries and strict ceilings on social spending, resulting in lowered incomes for teachers, worsening shortages of classrooms, teachers, and other resources, and the forced commercialization of schools and universities.

Decent Salaries for Teachers
In the past year, ACT led a nationwide campaign to raise teachers’ salaries. Teachers mobilized throughout the country, holding mass meetings and assemblies, signing petitions, and marching in the streets in their thousands. We gained the support of the public and developed alliances with sympathetic legislators, politicians, and administrators. The campaign likewise enabled ACT to expand its membership and build more chapters throughout the country. As a result of our efforts, in July 2009, the Arroyo government implemented the first tranche of the so-called Salary Standardization Law 3, which upgraded the Teacher I position by one salary grade (from Salary Grade 10 to 11) and provides an increase of P6,500 over four years.

The pay hike granted by SSL3, coming after a 6-year moratorium on public sector salary increases, remains inadequate because it fails to restore the purchasing power of teachers’ salaries eroded by the rising cost of living. Furthermore, the SSL3 fails to address the long-standing distortion in standardized salaries whereby teachers are paid lower than other positions with lower qualifications.

For these reasons, ACT will continue the struggle for decent remuneration for teachers by campaigning for the upgrading of teachers to a minimum of Salary Grade 15.

No to education budget cuts!
On World Teachers’ Day, ACT denounces the reductions in public spending on education that the Arroyo administration has been imposing in the wake of the global economic crisis. At a time when 5.6 million school-age children are out of school, the situation calls for greater investment in quality public education, not budget cuts.

In 2009, the Malacañang meted out a Php 1.46 billion cut in the Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses budget of the Department of Education and a Php 1.89 billion reduction in Capital Outlay. Further cuts are to be expected in 2010, with a reduction of Php 507 million in MOOE and a huge Php 4.04 billion in CO in the proposed Department of Education budget.

Inadequate funding and resources for basic education is being cited by the DepEd as a justification for implementing a new streamlined curriculum requiring shorter teaching and learning hours for the elementary grades. This curriculum change has potentially far-reaching implications and must be opposed because it targets those subjects (Filipino, Sibika, HEKASI) that educate the youth on the basics of Filipino identity and citizenship.

The government is also inflicting similar cuts in higher education. The proposed 2010 budget for the country’s 108 State Universities and Colleges will be reduced by Php 3.2 billion, even as enrolment in public higher education institutions continues to grow. Notable in the 2010 budget proposal are the denial of Capital Outlay funds to all SUCs despite the desperate need to construct more classrooms and other facilities and the substantial reductions in MOOE (such as the unprecedented Php 280 million cut for the University of the Philippiens) , which are intended to force SUCs to adopt even more commercialization measures to generate operating funds.

Debt servicing continues to be the top priority of the Arroyo government, taking up 22% of the proposed 2010 budget.

GSIS benefits denied
Throughout the term of the current administration, teachers and other public sector workers have been deprived of the fair and just enjoyment of their social security benefits due to the oppressive policies of the Government Service Insurance System. Unwarranted automatic deductions are being made on their benefits without the benefit of due process. The collapse of their computer system in recent months has resulted in the breakdown in the delivery of services to GSIS members and pensioners. Yet Malacañang continues to coddle the GSIS management led by Winston Garcia, denying accountability to its disgruntled and oppressed members.

Human rights violations in the education sector
Teachers and teacher organizations have not been spared from the record of gross human rights violations of the Arroyo administration. In January, 20-year old school teacher Rebelyn Pitao was killed in Davao by suspected military intelligence agents. An alternative learning school for lumads in Lianga, Surigao del Sur was targeted by military operations in July. ACT members in Maliwalo, Tarlac were harassed by a unit of the Philippine Army in August. In September, a botched surveillance operation conducted by the Philippine Marines, targeting former ACT national chairperson Prof. Bienvenido Lumbera was exposed to the public. Such acts of violence and harassment, which take place in a climate of impunity, are among the worst violations of basic rights that take place under the Arroyo administration.

The government’s failure to provide security to teachers serving in isolated and conflict-ridden areas was highlighted by the kidnapping this year of two separate groups of teachers, one in Zamboanga City and the other in Zamboanga Sibugay. In both cases, the teachers were held in captivity for many months before being released by their abductors.

Relief and rehabilitation for flood victims
Lastly, we commemorate this year’s World Teachers’ Day even as hundreds of thousands of Filipinos, including many thousands of teachers, remain affected by the floods brought about by tropical storm Ondoy. We urge the government to prioritize the allocation and release of additional funding for relief and rehabilitation efforts. At the same time, we support calls for an independent and thorough review of government policies and structures that will pinpoint accountability for those factors that contributed to the scope of the disaster and formulate genuine reforms that will minimize human suffering in the face of similar natural calamities in the future.

Decent salaries for teachers! Salary Grade 15 for teachers!
No to education budget cuts! Rechannel debt payments to education and other social services!
Oust Winston Garcia! Reform the GSIS!
Uphold human rights, end impunity!
Immediate relief for the victims of storm Ondoy!

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
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