“Ang wika ay isang simbolo ng iyong matayog na pinanggagalingan. Kung ito ay isantabi natin, malamang wala tayong patutunguhan bilang mamamayan. Ipagbunyi, mahalin, yakapin, pagyamanin ang sariling atin.”—Bayang Barrios, mang-aawit
“Sa wika at panitikang Filipino ay mas malayang naipapahayag natin ang ating mga puso at kaluluwa. Sa pagtanggal ng mga araling ito ay unti-unti nila tayong binubusalan.”—Ricky Lee, manunulat
“Kaya nakakadismaya ito sa ating mga Pilipino dahil imbes na tatagan ang ating pagkatao sa pamamagitan ng edukasyon at kulturang Pilipino ay inilalayo tayo sa posibilidad na higit nating makilala ang ating pagkatao.”—Dr. Roland Tolentino (guro, manunulat, kritiko)
“Ang pagtanggal sa Filipino at Panitikan sa Kolehiyo ay isang palatandaan na nakakaligtaan nila na ang edukasyon ng mga Pilipino ay ibinatay sa edukasyon ng mga kolonyalistang Amerikano.”—Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera, chairperson emeritus, Concerned Artists of the Philippines/Pambansang Alagad ng Sining
By Macel Ingles
NORWAY–The Arthur Svensson Prize for 2019 goes to Filipina teacher leader and ACT Teacher’s Party Representative France Castro for her many years of labor organizing and struggle for academic rights in the Philippines.
Castro won the award for her many years of struggle to organize teachers and fighting for basic workers rights in the Philippines, wrote the Svensson Foundation in a press statement.
Castro is invited to Oslo to receive the prize at Rockefeller on June 12.
The award goes with a cash prize worth half a million kroners or about three million pesos.
One of 10 worst countries
The Philippines, according to The International Trade Union Federation, is one of the 10 worst countries in the world for workers and union stewards.
According to the ITUC, the country does not respect basic labor rights such as the right to organize and collective bargaining, and child labor rights as well as against discrimination and forced labor.
The group also noted the prevalence of extreme state violence and oppression of civil rights.
Workers and union activists experience threats and persecution and have to fight for basic rights in order to organize and against persecution from the government and employers, the group noted.
Attack on trade unionists
In a press statement the Svensson Foundation said, “Despite threats and persecution, there are brave people who fight for trade union rights. The regime has attacked trade union activists among teachers and journalists. Some have been killed and many had been imprisoned. Death threats are not unusual. Police officers had also launched an organized campaign that publicly vilified unionized teachers.”
The group added Castro works for democracy and human rights and has worked as a teacher and took initiatives to start a union in Quezon City.
After a few years, she became the secretary general for the Alliance for Concerned Teachers (ACT) and organized the teachers under a common union, it added.
The first CBA
ACT under Castro´s leadership grew in a very short time to become one of the country´s biggest unions in the Philippines.
The alliance signed its first collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in 2016 for teachers in Philippine public schools, an agreement that recognizes the right to strike.
She has also been elected to the Philippine Congress where she has, among others, worked for the expansion of maternity leave to 105 days.
“As a representative of teachers, she has fought against neo-liberal reforms in the education sector and better work environment for teachers. She has also engaged in the fight against lowering age of criminal responsibility for children, and the abolition of obligatory military training in schools and against the killing of thousands of youths under Duterte´s anti-drug
war,” the foundation noted.
It noted that Castro, in connection with her and her union´s advocacy for indigenous peoples rights to education, has been arrested by the paramilitary and arrested in November 2018 during a solidarity visit of the indigenous groups under attack in Mindanao.
“Both in and out of Congress, she has all the time fought for the poor, workers and human rights against powerful opponents,” the Foundation wrote.
Awarding on 12 June
The Svensson prize is given to a person or organization that worked to promote trade union rights and or strengthen union organizing in the world.
The award is an international prize started by Industri Energi and awarded annually by the Committee for Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Rights.
The prize is at 500,000 Norwegian kroner. Half of the amount will be
given to the prize winner and a certain amount will be set aside for follow up work connected to the prize winner or similar projects.
The prize is named after the former leader of the Chemical Union Arthur Svensson who was known for his international advocacy. #
Sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon, isang Moving Up Ceremony ng Lumad Bakwit School ang ginanap sa University of the Philippines Integrated School Auditorium noong Marso 29, 2019.
Ang natatanging seremonya ay may temang “Lumad Bakwit: Patatagin ang Hanay, Mag-aral at Sumulong, Ipaglaban ang Lupa at Kinabukasan”. Umabot sa 70 estudyanteng Lumad ang pinarangalan kung saan 30 dito ay nagtapos ng junior high school.
Ipinakita nila na purisgido silang makatapos ng pag-aaral at ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan, lalo na sa pagtatanggol ang kanilang lupang ninuno.
Pinasalamatan nila ang iba’t-ibang mga institusyon, simbahan, unibersidad at paaralan na tumulong sa kanila sa Metro Manila at karatig-probinsya na tumulong upang matagumpay nilang maitawid ang isang academic school year .
Sa kabila ito nang matinding atake sa kanilang paaralan kung saan 85 paaralang Lumad na may halos 3,000 mag-aaral, guro at mga magulang sa iba’t-ibang bahagi ng Mindanao ang pwersahang pinasara ng mga militar at paramilitar dahil sa walang tigil na militarisasyon.
Tumitindi din ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao katulad nang paghuli sa kanilang mga guro, pagpatay sa kanilang mga lider-katutubo at umiiral na Martial Law sa Mindanao. (Bidyo nila: Joseph Cuevas at Maricon Montajes)
Teachers from all over Metro Manila are holding a sit-down protest today to call for higher salaries and benefits in light of recent spikes in inflation.
Seeking relief from their dire economic conditions, public school teachers from more than 350 schools in the National Capital Region stopped regular lessons and instead staged sit-down protests to dramatize their call for urgent salary increases and higher budget for education.
“For public school teachers, it is our instrument to jolt the regime into heeding our cry that it should take care of its workers who toil everyday to deliver the mandate of the State,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) chairperson Joselyn Martinez said.
ACT members gathered thousands of students in school quadrangles and hallways to explain the economic crisis they say undermine the teachers’ economic wellbeing.
Support actions are also being held in several regions, ACT said.
NCR teachers are also holding simultaneous protest actions in front of the Quezon City Hall and in Mendiola.
“While in protest, we continue to fulfil our duties to our youth by educating them on the national situation and the people’s rights,” Martinez said.
The ACT leader said that the students’ social awareness and critical thinking are developed when public issues are explained to them.
Martinez blamed the Rodrigo Duterte government for its failure to fulfill its promise for a substantial salary increase at a time when their salaries have been drastically eroded by inflation.
Martinez also defended their sit-down protests against threats by Department of Education secretary Leonor Briones that their action may face legal implications.
“We have nothing to fear because our protest is well within our rights and in line with the performance of our duties. We are not abandoning our responsibilities. In fact we are doing this for the love of teaching,” Martinez said.
“We fight because we want to stay and continue teaching, especially our underprivileged students,” Martinez explained.
Martinez said the protest is being held in view of the plenary deliberations of the Senate on the 2019 national budget next week.
ACT Philippines lobbies that salaries of entry-level teachers be adjusted to the level of Police Officer I at Php30,000 monthly; that of Salary Grade 1 employees’ be increased to Php 16,000 a month; and an entry-level salary of Php31,000 for college instructors.
It also pushes for the adjustment of the Php2,000 Personnel Economic Relief Allowance to Php5,000 due to the steeply rising cost of living.
They assert for higher education budget to fill in the shortages in the education system and enable the granting of better benefits for the teaching and non-teaching personnel # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) expressed elation over the approval of a bigger quarterly rice allowance for Quezon City public school teachers and employees.
“This is a victory for the long campaign of the Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA) and the ACT Teachers Union-National Capital Region,” ACT national president Joselyn Martinez told Kodao.
The local government of Quezon City announced Monday that Mayor Herbert Bautista approved City Ordinance 2754-2018 increasing the rice allowance of the city’s public school personnel from P1,500.00 to P2,000.00 “in recognition of their valuable services to society.”
The new ordinance amended City Ordinance 2312-2014 that granted a P1,500 quarterly rice allowance to teaching and non-teaching personnel of the Division of City Schools of Quezon City.
The increased benefit will be implemented in the first quarter of 2019, the QC government said.
Martinez cited QC Councilors Ally Medalla and Raquel Malangen as authors of the ordinance.
“This is the result of QCPSTA’s alliance work with the city councilors. [It] talked to all members of the City Council as well as Mayor Bautista and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte,” Martinez said.
Martinez called on the city government to revert to Landbank in dispensing teachers’ local allowances citing delays caused by local government unit’s transfer to BPI Globe Banko. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
Teachers from different schools in Metro Manila marched to Mendiola last Friday in Manila to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest rally.
Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party, they staged a National Day of Action for salary increase and against TRAIN Law of the Duterte Government.
Similar protests and actions were also held in Davao City, Cebu City, Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.
According to Joselyn Martinez, National Chairperson of ACT, teachers experience the most oppression among government employees despite their leading role in social development.
The Duterte government failed in its promise to increase the salary of public school teachers unlike the military and police which was doubled this year, they said.
Teachers are also overworked due to oppressive policies like the Results-based Performance Management System and Philippine Standards for Teachers, they added.
They were force to attend different seminars and pay from their own pocket while their allowances are often delayed in arriving, Martines added.
According to Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party, the P50 billion budget cut for basic education next year will definitely affect the budget for textbooks, feeding programs and other classroom materials.
The group also condemned recent harassments and intimidations against teachers.
This includes a threat of dismissal of Bacolod teachers if they push through with their planned mass leave. Police tried to prohibit Manila Public School Teachers from distributing leaflets and posters to their colleagues in the activity last October 4.
The teachers also slammed PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde about his warning of contempt to professors who teach ‘rebellious ideas’ to the students, citing that this is an attack following the ‘Red October’ Scare spread by the military and government cover up to the real issues such as inflation rate and TRAIN law. (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)
Mahigit-kumulang 150 na guro, non-teaching personnel at instruktor mula sa iba’t ibang SUC’s, pampubliko at pribadong paaralan ang nagtipon-tipon sa Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and community Development, UP Diliman para sa National Education Worker’s Summit 2018 na pinangunahan ng Alliance of Concerned Teachers, All UP Academic Employees Union, Quezon City Public School Teachers Association (QCPSTA), SOS (Save Our Schools) UST Chapter at KMED (Kilos na para sa Makabayang Edukasyon) noong Agosto 15, 2018.
Nilayon ng pagtitipon na ito na pag-isahin ang mga manggagawa sa sektor ng edukasyon upang alamin at talakayin ang kalagayan ng sistema ng edukasyon sa bansa tulad ng usapin ng mababang pasahod, seguridad sa paggawa, kontraktwalisasyon, mababang alokasyon ng badyet para sa edukasyon, programang K-12 at epekto nito sa mga pampubliko at pribadong paaralan.
Naging tungtungan ito upang makabuo ng 18 resolusyon ang mga guro, non-teaching personnel at mga instruktor.Ang mga resolusyon ay idinulog sa ACT Partylist upang maipaabot ang kanilang mga hinaing at pagtibayin pa ang mga labang kasalukuyang iginiggiit at tinutulak na maipasa sa kongreso.
Pangunahin ang mga resolusyon hinggil sa pagpapataas ng sahod, Teachers Protection Bill, pagpapababa ng retiring age, at marami pang iba. (Bidyo ni Maricon Montajes)