Tag Archives: COVID19ph

[Right-UP] The Philippines’ COVID-19 Response: Securitising the Pandemic and Disciplining the Pasaway | by Karl Hapal

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

The Philippines’ COVID-19 Response: Securitising the Pandemic and Disciplining the Pasaway
by Karl Hapal

It was the third week of April 2020, five weeks since Metro Manila and other provinces were put under “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ). Under ECQ, school and university classes were suspended, mass gatherings were prohibited, government offices were run with a skeletal workforce, businesses were closed except for those providing essential goods and services, mass transportation was restricted, and people were ordered to observe social distancing measures and to stay at home. At that time, the Philippines had 6,456 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) confirmed cases, 426 deaths, and 612 recoveries. Quarantine rules specified that only one person was authorized to go out and buy essential goods for the rest of their family. As the designated “authorized person outside of residence” (APOR), I was given a “quarantine pass,” a document issued by the barangay. With my quarantine pass securely kept in my bag, I went out to buy food and medicine in a nearby market. Without any public transportation, I walked for nearly thirty minutes to get to the market. The street leading to the market was relatively empty. Apart from people who were, like me, walking towards the market, very few vehicles plied the road. Occasionally, an ambulance would pass by as well as illegal motorcycle taxis. As I neared the market, I saw slow-moving vehicles occupying the street. It was as if I had gone back to the “old normal.” Soon I saw police vehicles. I also saw several buses where people were being loaded. I thought the buses were there to transport frontline workers. I was later told that the buses were there to transport people apprehended for violating quarantine guidelines. My brief encounter with the government’s campaign to apprehend violators of quarantine guidelines is hardly an aberration. Elsewhere in the greater Metro Manila area, the joint forces of the police and the military cracked down on erring individuals.

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[Press Release] TDC, muling nanawagan sa DEPED na istriktong ipatupad ang work from home scheme sa mga guro

#HumanRights #Teachers #Covid19ph

TDC, muling nanawagan sa DEPED na istriktong ipatupad ang work from home scheme sa mga guro

Matapos ang muling pagtaas ng kaso ng COVID-19 sa bansa at ang pagsasailalim ng Metro Manila at mga karatig-lalawigan sa mas mahigpit quarantine rules, muling nanawagan ang TDC sa pamunuan ng DepEd na ipatupad ang alternative work arrangement (AWA) partikular ang work-from-home scheme.

“Expose na expose po ang mga guro natin sa virus dahil sa iba’t ibang mga gawain gaya ng face to seminars at meetings na puwede naman sanang gawing virtual. Mayroon ding ilang nire-require for home visitation maliban pa sa distribution at retrieval ng modules,” pahayag ni Benjo Basas, Pambansang Tagapangulo ng TDC.

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[Statement] Hindi kailangang ibabad sa isang linggong virtual inset ang mga guro | TDC

#HumanRights #Teachers #COVID19ph

Hindi kailangang ibabad sa isang linggong virtual inset ang mga guro
(Sagot ng TDC sa opisyal na pahayag ng DepEd ngayong araw, Marso 16, 2021)

Sa kabila ng malawak na pagtutol mula sa hanay ng kaguruan, ipinilit pa rin ng DepEd Central Office ang paglulunsad ng in-service training (INSET) sa pamamagitan pagpapanood lamang sa YouTube Live sa lahat ng guro.

Malinaw ang intensiyon ng memorandum na nilagdaan ni Undersecretary Alain Pascua noong Marso 4, 2021 (DepEd OUA MEMO 00-03-21-0063), ito ay para sa lahat ng mga guro, hindi boluntaryo at panonoorin ng live sa iisang platform, ang YouTube.

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[Press Release] A year under lockdown: workers’ condition worse than before | EILER

#HumanRights #Workers #COVID19ph

A year under lockdown: workers’ condition worse than before — labor NGO

The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER) is dismayed at the government’s failed pandemic response and for leaving the workers behind, a year after implementing the Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ.

Recent government data showed an increase in the annual unemployment rate up to 10.3 per cent, the highest recorded annual unemployment in 15 years (2020 Annual Preliminary Estimates of LFS). Before this, the unemployment rate reached an all-time high of 17.7% in April of 2020.

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[From the web] Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins! | Akbayan

#HumanRights #Women #COVID19ph

Women need more vaccines, not tarpaulins!

Photo from Akbayan FB page

“More vaccines, not tarpaulins!”

This was the message conveyed by women members of Akbayan Partylist as they unfurled a banner at a footbridge in Quezon City on Thursday marking this year’s International Women’s Month.

The Akbayan women said that they are calling for more vaccine options for the public and an end to early and expensive election campaigning amid the country’s efforts to contain COVID-19.

“Women want more vaccine options. The more vaccines that are made available, the more lives we can save, and the sooner we can all realize a new and better normal for all. Campaign tarpaulins and other early and expensive election campaigning will not save lives nor protect women from the global health crisis,” Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales said.

It was reported that tarpaulins that carried messages urging Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte to run for president in 2022 appeared in different parts of the country. Duterte and her supporters drew flak from the public as the tarpaulins sprouted in different areas amid the country’s lack of vaccines against COVID-19.

“As women, who are one of the most vulnerable sectors to the pandemic, we are scandalized by this early election campaigning in the middle of a global health crisis. Hindi bale sana kung ganoon din kabilis ang rollout ng bakuna gaya ng paglalagay nila ng mga tarpaulin sa buong bansa,” Rosales said.

Rosales, who is also a former partylist representative, explained that women have every right to call for more vaccines as they bear the brunt of the pandemic.

“From facing a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission and deaths, as majority of health frontliners are women, to loss of jobs and increasing gender-based violence, COVID-19 has hit women harder and worsened gender inequality. Let us not add furthermore to our women’s multiple burden by depriving them of a fast, safe and efficient vaccine program,” Rosales said.

“We call on the government to provide a safe, adequate, and effective vaccination plan for all. We also call for the faster arrival of more vaccines to give the public, particularly women, the widest array options to protect ourselves from COVID-19,” Rosales said.

https://web.facebook.com/AkbayanParty/photos/a.99632461555/10157600362061556/

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[Press Release] TDC welcomes dismissal of DEPED plan to reduce teachers’ vacation period

#HumanRights #Teachers

TDC welcomes dismissal of DEPED plan to reduce teachers’ vacation period

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) welcomes the statement from the Department of Education (DepEd) that it will no longer pursue the plan to impose a “two-week vacation” prior to the opening of the next school year.

“Teachers, by tradition and by rules are entitled to a two-month school break and the DepEd cannot just disregard this, it’s a matter of right,” said TDC National Chairperson Benjo Basas.

In a radio interview this morning, Dr. Diosdado San Antonio, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction said that the agency will no longer propose a two-week break between school years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 following criticisms from netizens opposing the plan, which made the matter a trending topic in several social media platforms last week.

The TDC earlier said that a school break of only two weeks between two academic years is unacceptable especially that distance learning has been physically, mentally and psychologically exhausting both for teachers and learners.

Yesterday, the DepEd has released the DepEd Order No. 12, s. 2021 providing for the new schedule of activities under the current school year, extending it further to July 10, among other changes. Said Order, however does not provide for the school break between the SY 2020-2021 and SY 2021-2022.

“Since there are now changes in the schedule, the two-month break should be adjusted as well,” Basas ended.

Basas said that this is only a proof that DepEd can make sound policies if they will listen to their stakeholders, especially the teachers. In a hearing of the Senate Education Committee this morning, Basas reiterated that DepEd should include the teachers, the front liners in education sector in crafting its policies. #

For details:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
0927-3356375
NEWS RELEASE
March 3, 2021

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[From the web] Vaccines for all, safety for all -By Rene E. Ofreneo

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

Vaccines for all, safety for all
By Rene E. Ofreneo

No one is safe unless everyone is safe. This, in gist, is the rationale behind the proposal of India, South Africa and other developing countries for a “TRIPS Waiver” under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) agreement on Trade-Related Aspects Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS.

The Covid-19 pandemic has bared the global reality: the health of one depends on the health of all. This means all countries should exert efforts to attain “herd immunity” for their populations. Otherwise, the virus, which has been mutating, will continue to circulate endlessly, flaring every now and then in different parts of the world. Hence, it is critical that all countries should have access to vaccines and medical products such as test kits, protective equipment, ventilators, therapeutics and medical devices that are needed to treat, prevent and contain the virus.

The problem is that there are barriers, “intellectual barriers,” in accessing these vaccines and medical products. Under the TRIPS agreement, industrial and pharmaceutical products traded around the world are subject to the protective rules of TRIPS on patents, trade secrets, copyrights and industrial designs. TRIPS is some kind of an aberration under the WTO umbrella of trade agreements. TRIPS provides utmost “protection” to the global trade players such as the multinationals while the rest of the WTO agreements seek maximum “liberalization” of markets for goods and services.

The proposed TRIPS Waiver means exemption of developing countries from the protective rules of TRIPS. Specifically, they shall be allowed to avail themselves of TRIPS “flexibilities” such as the “compulsory licensing” or manufacture of patented vaccines and medical products as well as the right to undertake “parallel importation” of the above from another source without the consent of the patent holders—all in the name of public health.

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[Off-the-shelf] 𝗔 𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗔𝘀𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀 -UPCIDS

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

CASES OF ALTERNATIVES | 𝗔 𝗥𝗲𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗼𝘂𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗔𝘀𝗶𝗮𝗻 𝗖𝗼𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗲𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝗖𝗢𝗩𝗜𝗗-𝟭𝟵 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀

This year, marginalized and grassroots communities across Southeast Asia faced the unique, uneven, and long-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in their localities. Despite all, we persisted, trusting in practices, frameworks, and movements as alternatives to an anti-people system.

This report documents these responses from the ground. It bears witness to the power of the people to define development in their own terms.

As we approach the end of 2020 and the start of a new decade, let these cases of community responses by marginalized sectors, communities, and grassroots of Southeast Asian societies remind us of the possibilities of social solidarity and collective action.

Salute to the communities and organizations for braving the crisis of the decade. May their examples be lessons for all communities fighting the pandemic through alternatives.

📖 Read and download the report for free at bit.ly/cidsaltdevrlssea

***

Sponsored by the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung with funds of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany.

This publication or parts of it can be used by others for free as long as they provide a proper reference to the original publication.

The content of the publication is the sole responsibility of UP CIDS AltDev and does not necessarily reflect a position of RLS.

#covid19SEAcommunityresponses
#Lawan
#peopleleddevelopment
#alternativeregionalism

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[Right-Up] Ang mga nararapat na gawin ng gobyerno Hinggil sa Suliranin ng Pandemya at Kalusugan -ni Jose Mario De Vega

#HumanRights #Covid19ph

Ang mga nararapat na gawin ng gobyerno Hinggil sa Suliranin ng Pandemya at Kalusugan

Tanong:

Sapat na ba na matugunan ng pamahalaan ang pangangailangan sa vaccine para sa ​​​​”recovery” natin mula sa pandemya?

Tugon:

Hindi! Kailangang muling irehistro ang mapait, kasuklam-suklam at kasumpa-sumpang katotohanan na ang rehimeng ito ang isa sa primordial na dahilan kung bakit nakapasok ang bee-rus na ito sa atin (hindi tayo nagdeklara ng Travel Ban sa mga pasahero galing ng Tsina) at ang pagiging tuta ni Mang Kanor sa China (ang kauna-unahang namatay ditto ng corona virus ay isang Chinese na galing mismo ng Wuhan na siyang epicentre ng global na pandemya noon) ang hindi mapapasubaliang salik na lalong nagpalubha at nagpalala ng pandemya dini sa atin!

Bukod sa kawalang malasakit at pagtingin sa kapakanan ng mga mamamayan, ipinakita din ni Mang Kanor ang kawalan niyang kaalaman at sampu ng mga inkompetente, impertinente at mga tungaw na miyembro ng gabinete na pawang mga walang kasanayan at walang kaalaman sa pagharap at pagtugon sa problema!

Ang problema ay pangkalusugan, ngunit na sa halip na mga ekpersto, siyentipiko, akademiko at mga alagad ng medisina ang manguna sa IATF — ay tinadtad ito ng mga militar!

Sa halip na nakabatay sa agham at siyeniya ang programa, ang ginawa ng rehimen ay militariayon na para ba gang matatakot ang virus sa sandamakmak na mga militar at pulis na nagsilipana sa mga kalsada. Hindi pa nakuntento at naglagay pa ng mga tangke.

Nagdeklara nang Lockdown (na pinakamahaba na yata sa buong mundo) na ang idinulot ay labis-labis na hirap, pagdurusa at kagutuman ng mga tao. Bukod sa magulo, sabog ay lubhang naging mabagal ang pamamahangi ng ayuda na hanggang ngayon ay marami pa ang hindi nakakatanggap at marami din ang hindi kailanman nakakuha ni anumang tulong.

Samantalang pinalulusot ang mga big-time na lumalabag sa mga health protocols ay siya namang lupit at higpit nito sa mga karaiwang mga tao.

Kaya naman sa aking tingin kahit pa matugunan ng pamahalaang ito (na pinagdududahan ko) ang bakuna para sa mga tao ay hindi pa din iyon sapat sa lahat ng mga inhustisya at kawalanghiyaang sinapit ng mga tao sa napakasamang rehimen na ito.

Hinggil sa usapin ng bakuna, kinakailangan na ang gagamitin ay tunay na dumaan sa siyentikong pagsusuri at pag-aaral at hindi kung ano-anong bakuna lamang. Gayundin, walang karapatan ang gobyerno na ito na ipilit sa mga mamamayan ang bakuna na kanilang napupusuan o bakuna ng kanilang minamanok na imperyo kahit pa kuwestiyunable ang naging proseso at kaduda-duda ang diumano’y epikisidad o pagiging epektibo nito.

Kailangan ding idagdag na bukod sa bakuna, kailangang isaayos ng gobyerno ang usaping pang-ekonomiko at higit sa lahat ay ang usapin at karapatang-pangkalusugan ng mga mamamayan. Halimbawa, kailanman ay hindi natin dapat na kalimutan ang ninakaw na P 15Bilyong piso na pondo sa PhilHealth. Sapagkat kakailanganin natin ang nawawalang pondo na yaon sa implementasyon ng Universal Health Care Law o UHC.

Tanong:

Ano ang dapat pang mga ayusin sa sistema ng ​​​​kalusugan, pamamahala, at panagutang kapalpakan ng pamahalaan sa naging CoViD ​​​​response nito?

Tugon:

Habulin, singilin at pagbayarin ang mga magnanakaw at mandarambong sa PhilHealth.

Kanselahin muna ang pagtataas ng kontribusyon ng mga miyembro sa PhilHealth.

Bayaran ng gobyerno ang utang nito sa Red Cross, upang ang nasabing institusyon ay patuloy at tuloy-tuloy na magawa ang tungkulin nito na makatulong sa mga mamamayan.

Ang mga pork barrel ay dapat na ilipat para sa implementasyon ng UHC.

Itaas ang sahod ng mga medical frontliners

Dapat na gawing polisiya ng gobyerno ang pamimigay ng libreng face mask at face shield sa mga mamamayan — lalo na sa mga bulnerableng sektor ng ating lipunan at mga naghihikahos.

Kailangang magkaroon at ipaglaban ng mga Mamamayan ang Karapatan at Katarungan sa Usapin ng Kalusugan…

Panghuli, kinakailangang magkaroon ang gobyerno ng maayos na implementayon ng pamamahagi ng bakuha. Huwag nating kalimutan ang naging magulo at napakabagal nitong ginawa sa pamamahagi ng ayuda at tulong-pinansyal sa mga tao.

Gayundin, ibig kong muling idiin na walang karapatan ang gobyerno na ipilit sa mga tao ang isang bakuna na hindi naman pinagkakatiwalaan ng mga mamamayan. Kinakailangan din sa aking tingin na magkaroon ng malawak at Pambansang Konsultasyon ukol sa bagay na ito at Komprehensibong dissimenayon at edukayon para a Taong-Bayan ukol sa  bagay na ito!

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[Off-the-shelf] YEAR-END REPORT: 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐀𝐬𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 -UP CIDS

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

YEAR-END REPORT: 𝐒𝐨𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐭 𝐀𝐬𝐢𝐚𝐧 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐑𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐂𝐎𝐕𝐈𝐃-𝟏𝟗 𝐓𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬

The Program on Alternative Development of the University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) shares its comprehensive account on grassroots experiences during the pandemic entitled: “A Report on Southeast Asian Community Responses in COVID-19 Times”.

This year, marginalized and grassroots communities across Southeast Asia faced the unique, uneven, and long-lasting impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in their localities. Despite all, they persisted, trusting in practices, frameworks, and movements as alternatives to an anti-people system.

The report documents these responses from the ground. It bears witness to the power of the people to define development in their own terms and actualize possibilities for social solidarity and collective action. May their examples be lessons for all communities fighting the pandemic through alternatives.

Read and download the report for free: https://bit.ly/cidsaltdevrlssea

Submit your contribution online through HRonlinePH@gmail.com
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All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[People] Recommendations on meeting the marginalized’s needs in the pandemic -by Ed Tadem

#HumanRights #COVID19ph

Recommendations on meeting the marginalized’s needs in the pandemic
by Eduardo C. Tadem

‘Congress should quickly enact legislation that will impose a wealth tax on the richest Filipino families to raise revenue for COVID-19 measures’

On March 8, 2020, the Philippine government declared a state of public health emergency due to rising cases of COVID-19 infections. The country has been under lockdown and quarantine measures for 9 months now. Nonetheless, infections and fatalities continue to rise. The country has the second highest infection rate in Southeast Asia and 7th in Asia.

The government responded to the health crisis with a “whole of government approach,” where state agencies from the national to the local implement containment measures. An Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) was established led by retired generals and two social amelioration programs (SAP) were initiated to provide immediate assistance to families.

The measures exacted a heavy toll on the Philippine economy, society, and politics. The economy is in recession and is forecasted to contract by 8.5%-9.5% for 2020. Poverty rose, half of the labor force became jobless with 40% relying on part-time employment, and hunger stalked 7.6 million families or 31% of the total. Business establishments went bankrupt. Children of poor families were unable to cope with the remote learning modes of education. Human rights violations increased as well as domestic abuses and harassments of women, particularly among the urban poor.

While COVID-19’s impact cuts across all sectors of society, poor and marginalized communities are more vulnerable and bear the brunt of the crisis. Despite difficulties and limitations, however, some grassroots organizations have taken up important roles in providing relief for their communities, especially in areas where government support was lacking.

The University of the Philippines Center for Integrative and Development Studies, Program on Alternative Development (UP CIDS AltDev), with support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), undertook a research study of 5 grassroots communities: an urban poor home-owners association, a health watch program of a relocated urban poor community, a women’s micro social enterprise, an indigenous people’s community, and, a school for indigenous children. The study generated vivid stories from the community level on how the multifaceted challenges of the pandemic are confronted and addressed.

The case studies

Utilizing collective leadership, mass mobilization and self-regulation principles, the Alyansa ng mga Samahan sa Sitio Mendez, Baesa Homeowners Association (ASAMBA), initiated its own measures to safeguard their members from the pandemic – monitoring mobility, retrofitting their iron gates, establishing checkpoints, initiating a community-wide information campaign, and addressing their food needs.

The self-help measures, however, were insufficient to control the spread of the virus coming from surrounding neighborhoods. The prolonged lockdown, loss of jobs, and reduced income generating activities also impacted heavily on the community.

Upon the onset of the pandemic, the Bantay Kalusugang Pangkomunidad (BKP, Community Health Watch) immediately mobilized its members and resources to respond properly – constantly monitoring the health conditions of the community, providing first aid in medical emergencies, undertaking health education particularly COVID-19 information, and soliciting donations.

Outside relief, however, have been insufficient and inconsistent – offering little relief. The government’s social amelioration program has also been marked by non-inclusiveness and selectiveness, slow and stressful processes, and limited LGU capacities.

Igting or Maigting na Samahan ng mga Panlipunang Negosyante ng Towerville Inc., a women’s social enterprise producing garment and apparel products, leaned on its operations as a momentary saving grace due to bulk orders for face masks. Their situation, however, remains precarious as the residents’ daily lives have been greatly disrupted by the lockdowns and quarantine measures while being subjected to an inadequately implemented and late-coming social amelioration program that was also felt to be stressful, arbitrary, and selective. Quarantine measures are also inflexible and cumbersome as well as inattentive to humane considerations.

The Ayta Mag-indi indigenous community in two ancestral domain villages reacted quickly upon hearing of the COVID-19 outbreak and declarations of a lockdown and quarantine. A communications system and checkpoints were set up and donations were solicited. Lockdown rules were enforced, and they learned all they could about the pandemic. They also reached out to lowland communities to dispel damaging rumors about their alleged virus-causing bat-eating habits.

Government assistance, however, came late and benefited less than 10% of the residents. The Aytas had by then initiated their own measures and relied on their ancestral domain lands and resources to provide them with food security and physical safety. They produced their own face masks from local materials and used their traditional indigenous knowledge about medicinal plants and nutritious fruits as disinfectants and to strengthen their immunity.

The lockdown and quarantine rules, however, are alienating and strange to their culture and traditional practices. Instead, they adhere to and uphold principles of solidarity and caring for one another – constantly engaging in community-wide discussions to assess and meeting their needs despite scant resources.

The Lumad community schools for indigenous children in Mindanao were established in their ancestral lands using DepEd-prescribed curricula with the addition of agriculture and health subjects – distilled from their indigenous cultures and knowledge systems. Government counter-insurgency campaigns disrupted the schools – forcing the closure of many of them and the evacuation of about 4,000 Lumad school children.

The “Bakwit School” was thus created; some relocated to Metro Manila. To offset the pandemic-related school disruptions, remedial classes have been taking place. The emotional health and wellbeing of the students have been addressed through psycho-social support and by cultivating skills and hobbies such as traditional bead work, intramural sports, learning musical instruments, drawing, and painting.

Final note

The 5 case studies reveal that some marginalized communities at the ground level, provided they are imbued with the principles of solidarity, social cohesion, organizational fitness, and sharing can undertake the proper minimum measures to address a health crisis. But because their own resources are scarce, and livelihood opportunities and basic public services are wanting, their capacities to cope with a health disaster of the COVID-19 magnitude are limited and insufficient. This is where the state and its agencies need to boldly step in, recognize and appreciate what the grassroots are undertaking on their own, and provide what the communities are in short supply of.

Eduardo C. Tadem, PhD, is convenor, UP CIDS AltDev. This paper was presented at a Webinar Press Briefing and Public Forum on December 9, 2020. The full report submitted to UNESCO will soon be published by UP CIDS. Co-authors are Karl Hapal, Venarica Papa, Ananeza Aban, Honey Tabiola, Jose Monfred Sy, Nathaniel Candelaria, Micah Orlino, and community residents. The ideas and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO and do not commit the Organization.

The article was also published on Rappler.com https://bit.ly/3prKkFO

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[Statement] Reaksiyon ng TDC sa planong dry-run ng face to face classes sa Enero

Reaksiyon ng TDC sa planong dry-run ng face to face classes sa Enero

Bagamat boluntaryo, hindi pa rin makatitiyak na magiging ligtas ang mga bata, guro at magulang kung sakaling itutuloy itong dry-run para sa face to face classes. Ayon sa mga pag-aaral, ang mga bata ay maaaring maging ‘super spreader’ ng virus kung silan’y mahahawaan. Kung sakaling opsiyunal man ito sa mga mag-aaral, maaring hindi ito opsiyunal sa ating mga guro. Sa nakalipas na mga buwan, nakapagtala ang DepEd ng malaking bilang ng mga guro na nahawaan ng COVID-19 at sa kasawiang-palad, hindi nakahanda ang DepEd na mabigyan ng mga kaukulang tulong ang mga nabanggit na guro. Ito’y kahit pa malinaw na ang mga kaso ng hawaan ay nakuha nila dahil sa paggampan sa kanilang trabaho.

Sa ganang amin, kailangang maisaalang-alang ang mahahalagang bagay tulad ng sitwasyon ng COVID sa komunidad, kapasidad ng mga paaralan at LGU sa pagpapatupad ng health protocols, kahandaan ng mga tulong na maaaring kailanganin ng paaralan at komunidad at ang kahandaan din ng ating mga guro para sa ganitong sitwsyon. Kung hindi ito maisasagawa, marahil ay mainam na ituloy na lamang ang nasimulang distance-learning modalities sa kabila ng napakaraming pagkukulang nito. Sapagkat kung sakaling magsagawa ng limited face to face classes, tiyak na iilang komunidad lamang ang maaaring makapagsagawa nito at iilang bata lamang ang maaaring makasama sa programa.

Dapat bumaba mula sa kanilang mga tanggapan ang mga opisyal ng DepEd Central Office at tingnan ang mga tunay na kalagayan sa mga paaralan sa buong bansa upang makapagsagawa ng mga tamang polisiyang tutugon sa mga problema. Higit sa lahat, konsultahin sana ng DepEd ang kanyang mga guro. Lahat ng mga plano at programang ipinatupad ng DepEd mula nang maisailalim sa trahedya ng pandemya ang bansa ay walang itong ginawang malalimang konsultasyon sa kanyang mga guro, ang frontliners ng edukasyon.

Maaari namang maghintay sa inaasahang bakuna bago ituloy ang face to face classes.


For details:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
0927-3356375

PAHAYAG
Disyembre 15, 2020

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[Press Release] Mga Guro, muling nanawagan na itigil na ang produksiyon ng modules -TDC

#HumanRights #Education Mga Guro, muling nanawagan na itigil na ang produksiyon ng modules

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC). File Photo by Arnel Tuazon

Dalawang linggo matapos ang pagbubukas ng klase noong Oktubre 5, muling nanawagan ang Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) sa Department of Education (DepEd) na ipatigil na ang pag-iimprenta ng modules na ginagamit ngayon sa mga pampublikong paaralan.

“Sapat na ang dalawang linggo para makita natin at mapatunayan na hindi talaga uubra ang modules na ito. Napakalaki na ng ginugugol na halaga para dito ngunit hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin ito sapat. Maliban pa sa nakita nating problema sa kung paano ito isasagawa ng ating mga mag-aaral at kanilang mga magulang. Sana naman ay ikonsidera na ng DepEd ang agarang pagpapatigil sa produksiyon nito upang maisalba rin ang malaking halagang maaaring masayang mula sa buwis ng taumbayan,” pahayag ni Benjo Basas, national chairperson ng TDC.

Ayon pa kay Basas, maliban sa maraming nakitang mga pagkakamali sa learning modules ay hindi pa maayos ang pagkakaimprenta ng marami dito sapagkat nagkanya-kanya ang mga paaralan sa pag-iimprenta. Matatandaang noon pang kalagitnaan ng Setyembre ay nanawagan na ang grupo na huwag nang gumamit ng modules dahil sa malaking gastos dito at sa halip ay gumamit na lamang ng mga aklat na mas matibay at mas matipid.

Sinabi rin ng grupo na ito ay isang patunay lamang na hindi talaga nakahanda ang ahenisya taliwas sa paulit-ulit nitong mga pahayag.

“Sabi ng DepEd ay handang-handa na sila sa pasukan at itinuring pang tagumpay ang pagbubukas ng klase. Pero bakit ganito ang nangyari? Bakit hindi pa nakahanda ang modules na bandang huli ay DepEd Central Office din mismo ang nagsabi na nahihirapang makaagapay ang mga mag-aaral. Sa lahat ng pagkukulang na ito ng DepEd, mga guro ang nagdusa, mula pag-aabono sa modules, reklamo ng mga magulang at sobrang bigat na mga gawain,” dagdag pa ni Basas.

Ayon pa sa TDC, dapat umanong agarang gumawa ng pahayag at polisiya ang DepEd na iniuurong na ang paggagawa ng modules alinsunod na rin sa mga naunang pahayag ni Sec. Leonor Briones.

“Si Sec. Briones na mismo ang nagsabi na magastos at may malaking implikasyon sa kapaligiran ang paggamit ng modules, baka raw maubos ang mga puno natin dahil sa malaking pangangailangan sa papel. Yun naman pala eh, bakit kailangan pang ipilit nang ipilit ito?” Tanong ni Basas.

Ang panawagan sa paggamit ng mga aklat sa halip na modules ay pormal na ring naisumite ng TDC sa dalawang kapulungan ng Kongreso maging sa Malacanang bago pa man magbukas ang klase noong Oktubre 5.#

Para sa mga detalye:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
09273356375/ 09230819750

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[Press Release] TDC pinuri ang DEPED sa planong bawasan ang gawain ng mga bata, ngunit hiniling din na tingnan ang kalagayan ng mga guro

#HumanRights #Education TDC pinuri ang DEPED sa planong bawasan ang gawain ng mga bata, ngunit hiniling din na tingnan ang kalagayan ng mga guro

Ikinatuwa ng mga guro ang pahayag ng Department of Education (DepEd) na babawasan umano ang mga gawain ng mga mag-aaral na nasa ilalim ng modular distance learning modality. Ito ang naging tugon ng kagawaran sa mga reklamo mula sa mga mag-aaral, magulang at maging mga guro na natatambakan umano ng maraming gawain at nahihirapan nang husto ang mga bata sa modular learning.

“Ikinalulugod namin ang pahayag na ito ng DepEd at umaasa kami na ipagpapatuloy pa rin nila ang pagtatasa sa mga polisiya,” ani Benjo Basas, National Chairperson ng Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC).

Ayon kay Basas ay marami pa umanong dapat repasuhin sa mga polisiya ng DepEd ukol sa distance learning modality na isinulong ng ahensiya bilang tugon sa pandemya.

“Sapagkat nasa gitna tayo ng krisis dulot ng pandemya, dapat lamang na magkaroon tayo ng konsiderasyon sa lahat lalo na sa mga bata at kanilang pamilya na maaaring limitado ang kapasidad pang-ekonomiya at pang-akademiko,” dagdag pa ni Basas.

Ayon pa rin sa kanya ay kinikilala nila ang naging hakbang ng DepEd nitong mga nakalipas na linggo mula sa pagbabago sa assessment at maging sa criteria sa grading. Matatandaan na hindi na magkakaroon ng periodical test ang mga bata at binago na rin ang sistema sa pagbibigay ng grado sa mga mag-aaral.

Gayunman, dapat sanang tutukan din umano ng ahensiya ang kalagayan ng mga guro na mula pa noong Hunyo ay subsob na sa iba’t ibang trabaho mula sa Brigada Eskwela, enrollment, weekly accomplishment reports, webinars at online meetings, module preparation at distribution at hanggang sa mga gawaing pagtuturo- online at modular mula nitong Oktubre 5.

Samantala, sinabi rin ni Basas na hindi umano makatarungan na tila ang mga guro ang nasisisi kapwa ng mga magulang at ng pamunuan ng DepEd sa mga kamalian sa modules at maging sa maraming gawain ng mga bata.

“Matapos sumalo sa napakaraming reklamo ng mga magulang at madla dahil sa samu’t saring kalituhan, mga guro pa rin ang sinisisi sa mga kamalian sa modules na hindi naman sila ang gumawa o hindi sila ang dapat na gumawa. Ngayon naman, nang makitang nabibigatan ang maraming mag-aaral sa modular activities, pinaalalahanan ng DepEd ang mga guro na huwag umanong tambakan ng mga gawain ang mga bata na tila ba mga guro ang nagdesisyon sa nilalaman ng modules na ito,” paliwanag ni Basas.

Ayon kay Basas, ang mga ito ay indikasyon lamang na may mas malalim pang problemang dapat tugunan ang DepEd hinggil sa distance learning modality. Nagpapatunay din umano ito na hindi lubusang napaghandaan ang pagbubukas ng klase taliwas sa mga pahayag ng DepEd na nakahanda umano ang ahensiya kahit naituloy ito noong Agosto 24.

“Siguro ang mga ito ay patunay lamang na may problema talaga sa pagpipilit sa pormal na pagbubukas ng klase para sa school year 2020-2021. Ngayon sa nakikita natin at kung magpapatuloy ito, baka masayang lamang ang effort ng DepEd at mga guro pati na ang napakalaking perang inilaan para sa modules dahil mukhang mahihirapan tayong maibigay sa mga bata ang kinakailangang edukasyon at mahihirapan naman ang mga bata at kanilang pamilya na makaagapay sa bagong sistemang ito,” pagtatapos ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC ang mga adjustments na ginawa nang DepEd ay mahalaga at dapat ipagpatuloy upang matiyak na walang batang maiiwan. Handa umano ang kanilang grupo na makipagtulungan sa DepEd para sa kapakanan ng mga batang Pilipino.#

Para sa detalye:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
09273356375

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[Press Release] Matapos mahawaan ang 11 Guro sa Ilagan City, TDC nais ilinaw ang trabaho ng mga guro sa DEPED

#HumanRights #Teachers #COVID19ph [Press Release] Matapos mahawaan ang 11 Guro sa Ilagan City, TDC nais ilinaw ang trabaho ng mga guro sa DEPED

Benjo Basas, National Chairperson, Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC). File Photo by Arnel Tuazon

“Ano ang tulong na maaasahan ng labing-isang guro sa Ilagan City na nahawaan ng COVID-19?” Ito ang tanong ni Benjo Basas, Tagapangulo ng Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) kasunod ng mga ulat na may labing-isang guro mula sa Ilagan City, Isabela ang nagpositibo sa COVID-19 matapos umano silang mamamahgi ng modules sa kanilang mga mag-aaral.

“Ito po ang paulit-ulit naming sinasabi noon pa, sana matiyak ng DepEd na mabantayan ang kausugan at kaligtasan ng mga guro, kawani at mga magulang at mag-aaral sa pagsisimula ng school year na ito. Bago pa man magbukas ang klase ay napakarami nang guro ang nahawaan at marami sa mga ito ay nakuha nila dahil sa kanilang mga gawaing may kinalaman sa kanilang trabaho,” dagdag pa ni Basas.

Ayon sa grupo ay hindi umano nakapaghanda ang DepEd sapagkat hindi naging malinaw ang mga paraan kung paano makaiwas sa hawaan ang mga guro, “Ngayong nangyari ito, sino ang mananagot? Sino ang nag-utos sa mga guro na magpunta sa mga komunidad? At sino ang gagastos para sa kanilang pagpapagamot?” Tanong ni Basas. Dagdag pa niya, “Kung tutuusin ay hindi trabaho ng mga guro ang mag-print, mag-sort at mag-distribute ng modules na ito. Sapagkat maliban sa naglaan ng 9 bilyong badyet ay paulit-ulit na sinasabi ng DepEd na nakahanda umano sila, pero ang mga guro pala ang ipapain nila sa virus.”

Samantala, nauna nang sinabi ng DepEd na wala umano itong inilaang badyet para sa pagpapagamot sa mga guro kung sakaling mahawaan sila ng COVID-19.

“Malinaw ang sinasabi ng Magna Carta for Public School Teachers na dapat ay alagaan ng gobyerno ang kalusugan ng mga guro. Dapat bigyan ng libreng medical check-up taun-taon at ipagamot ang mga guro sakaling magkaroon ng sakit, may pandemya man o wala dahil ang batas ay 1966 pa ginawa,” paliwanag ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC, mas kailangan umano ng mga guro ngayon na mabigyan ng katiyakan sa pangangalang medikal dahil na rin sa pagbubukas ng klase kasabay ng pandemya. Kaya muling nanawagan ang TDC sa DepEd na istriktong ipatupad ang mga helath protocol at ang mismong kautusan nito hinggil naman sa alternative work arrangement o AWA sa ilalim ng DepEd Order No. 11, s. 2020.

“Sabin ng DepEd mismo ay work-from-home ang default work arrangement ng mga guro, eh bakit parang hindi ganun ang nangyayari sa field? Bakit parang mas marami pa rin ang pinapapasok sa kani-kanilang mga paaralan at pinagagawa ng mga gawaing puwede namang gawin sa bahay. O kaya’y pinagagawa ng mga trabahong hindi naman dapat sa kanila,” ayon muli kay Basas.

Hiniling ng TDC sa DepEd na ilinaw ang kanyang mga patakaran at sabihin kung ang reproduction, sorting at distribution ba ng modules ay dapat lamang na mga guro pa rin ang gagawa.

“Ano yung sinasabing tagumpay ang pagbubukas ng klase? Nasaan na yung ipinagmamalaki ng DepEd na kahandaan? Hindi ba’t ayon sa DepEd ay handa sila kahit noong Agosto 24 pa? Bakit hanggang ngayon ay araw-araw pa ring pinapupunta ang mga guro sa paaralan para mag-ayos ng modules?” Pagtatapos ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC dapat umanong maging bukas ang DepEd sa pakikipag-usap sa mga guro kasabay na maging makatothanan ang mga ipinalalabas nilang impormasyon sa madla.

Para sa detalye:
Benjo Basas, 09273356375

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[People] Corruption and Spread of Covid-19 -by Fr. Shay Cullen

Corruption and Spread of Covid-19
Fr. Shay Cullen
24 September 2020

There are many global threats facing the world today. The most serious in everybody’s mind is the Coronavirus pandemic with 200,000 dead in the USA alone and spreading. It is a cause of shock and realization that we humans for all our economic, military and medical power is very weak and vulnerable to the invisible virus that has invaded our world, our communities, families and our bodies. Some nations have had success in controlling it; others have failed through incompetence and corruption.

Martha has a cheerful, happy-go-lucky personality, a healthy mother of four. On a recent Saturday evening, she forgot herself and went to a house party with friends to celebrate a birthday. She ignored precautions as did others and wrongly believed it wouldn’t touch her. But it did. By Friday, she was having strong coughing and fever symptoms and reactions and was rushed to the overcrowded hospital. There is painful convulsions, Martha struggled and gasped for breath, isolated from family, only the nurse, dressed in blue plastic, went to help her. It was no use, Martha quickly fell silent and died. It was her weak lungs, they said. Some underlying health condition said another. No one really knows why she died so quickly. There was no time for an autopsy, not even a proper funeral. She was brought straight to the crematorium, leaving behind a weeping crying, traumatized family.

There are hundreds of thousands of people like Martha and more of them every day. A mistake took away her precious, beautiful, happy life and that of her family. But it is also the many mistakes of the politicians that have failed to act decisively in time to lead and instruct the people that Covid-19 is a dangerous deadly virus with the power to kill and maim. They fail to insist that everyone must wear masks, avoid contact with others, disinfect, wash their hands frequently since anyone may have the deadly killer virus. It is spreading because many people ignore these precautions and corrupt, inadept and stupid failed leaders do not order and impose protective measures to save the vulnerable people and issue strong, consistent health warnings. They have failed to implement and insist on a national response to test and trace the infected people and isolate them. How else can this vicious virus that spreads like venom be contained? Those strong, respected leaders who did respond to the attack of Covid-19 in a wiser, more scientific and disciplined and educated manner saved hundreds of thousands of their citizens, which is their sworn duty.

In the nations with the highest death rates, it seems they have restricted the showing of videos of mass burials, lines of waiting coffins, full crematoriums, overcrowded hospitals, dying people and sick doctors and nurses. It is too shocking. Is it for some an effort to deny and cover up the real extent of their incompetence, criminal behaviour and lack of moral conscience all for the sake of retaining political power? Covid-19 is spreading and causing more sickness and death because of some selfish, pleasure-seeking and irresponsible people who flout precautions and care for no one other than themselves. In their ignorance, they demonstrate against the safety precautions no less.

It is our fervent hope and belief that the majority of humans are good, law-abiding people that care for others, protect them from Covid-19 and care for the public health and environment. They choose the good over evil. They act in a responsible way of saving their own lives, their families and neighbours. The people who do believe and choose to do the good and practice the values of love of the stranger, of neighbour and work for justice, have a responsibility to share those values so that equality, peace and harmony can be a reality in society. We should actively persuade and convince others to do likewise. Inactivity in the face of wrong is to allow it to grow and prosper.

It may seem like mission impossible to persuade the virus deniers and the climate sceptics of the truth of a pandemic and global warming. We have to challenge and call out the oppressors, corrupt leaders and politicians to do justice, respect the rights of all, to care and protect the public health and to serve humbly. To convince these people who live in darkness that it is a better life to be in the light and to bring happiness to people, not terror, oppression, pain, suffering, rights violations and death. It is a mission to persuade ordinary people to always choose the good over evil. It is a challenge for all to teach by a good example, taking action for justice and accepting and living the truth that justice and goodness is the path to happiness for all. It is a great shining ideal, but will it ever come to be?

This is the goal we must work for. There is so much evil in the world that allows the virus to spread uncontrolled in many countries, mostly among the poor. We see much irresponsible selfish behaviour by some national leaders, bankers, industrialists, military, police and criminals. We know that abuse and evil persist because they with the power choose the evil and reject the good as they exercise their free will corruptly. The evil comes from making the wrong choice to crush and hurt others to retain political and economic power and to plunder the nation. For them, the health and well-being of others is just a matter of lip-service, words without meaning, action without purpose, hypocrisy and skulduggery for selfish personal gain. The great hope is that a society, a nation, will evolve with the beautiful values, principles, and compassion that motivate overwhelming good that is the paramount driving force that brings happiness to all.

http://www.preda.org

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[Press Release] TDC, hinimok ang DEPED na ipatigil muna ang produksiyon ng self-learning modules

TDC, hinimok ang DEPED na ipatigil muna ang produksiyon ng self-learning modules

Dalawang linggo bago ang itinakdang pagbubukas ng klase sa Oktubre 5, hinimok ngayon ng grupong Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) ang pamunuan ng Department of Education (DepEd) na ipatigil muna ang produksiyon ng modules na gagamitin sa distance learning modality ngayong taong pampaaralan. Ayon sa grupo ay kailangan umanong mapag-aralang mabuti at masuri ang praktikalidad ng paggamit ng mga modules bago ituloy ang produksiyon nito.

“Sinasabi ng DepEd na handang-handa na sila sa pasukan pero iba ang mga ulat na nakakarating sa atin, ang mga nakikita natin at ang araw-araw na dinaranas ng ating mga guro sa field. Malinaw po na hindi pa nakahanda sa pasukan kung ang modules ang pagbabatayan,” ayon kay Benjo Basas, National Chairperson ng TDC.

Ayon pa kay Basas, bagamat nais na rin nilang matuloy ang pasukan sa Oktubre 5 ay hindi umano mawawala ang agam-agam sa mga guro at magulang dahilan sa hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin kumpleto ang mga modules kahit yaong para sa first grading period lamang.

“Kung hindi pa naman napi-print ang modules for second quarter, mas mainam na itigil muna ang printing nito, kung sakaling matuloy man ang pagbubukas ng klase sa Oktubre 5, maaaring gamitin ang mga available na aklat at mag-imprenta na lamang ng mga kulang. Sana maisip ito ng DepEd at huwag nang pahirapan pa nang husto ang mga guro at administrador ng mga paaralan,” dagdag pa ni Basas.

Marami umanong natatanggap na ulat ang TDC na ang mga modules na naihahanda ay yaong para lamang sa unang dalawang linggo hanggang sa unang buwan. Ito’y sa kabila ng pahayag ng DepEd kamakailan na nasa 98% na ang kahandaan nila sa pamamahagi ng modules.

“Ang sa amin lang po ay huwag nang ipilit. Napakarami nang violations ang nagawa dahil sa pagpipilit na ito. May mga guro na nagsulat ng sariling modules para sa kanilang paaralan, nag-solicit ng pambili ng papel ink at printers, mayroong nakipag-barter ng halaman o dumukot ng sariling pera para makapag-produce lang ng modules. Nakaparami rin ang pinag-report sa schools para mag-photocopy at mag-sort ng modules na tila ba hindi alintana ang panganib na dala ng COVID-19. Ang lahat ng mga ito ay bawal ayon sa panuntunan ng DepEd. Pero ginagawa ito ng ating mga guro sapagkat wala nang ibang paraan kaysa maghintay sa wala,” pagpapatuloy pa ni Basas.

Aniya dapat na umanong pag-isipan ng DepEd kung gagastos pa ba ang ahensiya ng malaking halaga para sa mga modules na baka sa huli ay masasayang lamang. Matatandaang 9 bilyong piso na ang ginastos ng DepEd para sa modules lamang at humihingi pa ito ng karagdagang 15 bilyon sa susunod na taon para sa learning materials kasama na ang modules.

“Si Sec. Briones na mismo ang nagsabi na magastos at may malaking implikasyon sa kapaligiran ang paggamit ng modules, baka raw maubos ang mga puno natin dahil sa malaking pangangailangan sa papel. Yun naman pala eh, bakit kailangan pang ipilit nang ipilit ito? Bakit hindi na lamang mga libro ang ipagamit sa mga bata at gawaan na lang ilang pahinang gabay sa mga gawain?” Tanong ni Basas.

Ayon sa TDC ay patuloy silang makikipag-ugnayan sa pamunuan ng DepEd upang mapag-usapan ang isyung ito at kung hindi na naman sila pakikinggan ay muli nilang idudulog sa mga mambabatas at sa Pangulo na ipagpaliban ang pagbubukas ng klase sa Oktubre 5.

“Nakahanda naman po ang mga guro na makipagtulungan at nakahanda rin na gumampan sa mga tungkulin kung sakaling matutuloy na ang pasok sa Oktubre 5, pero sana ang kahandaang ito ay tumbasan naman ng pagmamalasakit at paglingap mula sa pamunuan ng DepEd,” pagtatapos ni Basas.

Ang posibilidad ng paggamit ng libro sa halip na modules ay inihayag na ng TDC sa isang pagdinig ng Basic Education Committee sa Senado sa pamumuno ni Sen. Win Gatchalian nitong nakaraang linggo.

Para sa mga detalye:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
09273356375/ 09230819750

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Include your full name, e-mail address, and contact number.

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[Press Release] Funding for teachers’ Magna Carta sought amidst COVID-19 pandemic -TDC

Funding for teachers’ Magna Carta sought amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The Teachers’ Dignity Coalition (TDC) expresses its support the impending Senate inquiry on the implementation of the 1966 vintage Magna Carta for Public School Teachers (RA 4670), a law which was long been neglected by the government.

“This law, a very important piece of legislation is considered as the bible of Filipino teachers and lists several provisions that ensure the rights, welfare and dignity of the country’s public mentors. However, many of its provisions have not been implemented since the 1960s, and many still are selectively and partly enforced,” Benjo Basas, the group’s National Chairperson said.

Basas cites an incident in another senate committee hearing last year where several proposals for teachers’ salaries were tackled and the Budget Department stated its opposition to P10, 000 across-the-board increase citing some privileges supposedly enjoyed by the teachers. The DBM listed special hardship allowance, teaching overload or overtime pay, and the one salary grade higher upon retirement among other benefits that are exclusively given to public school teachers.

“They must be informed that our teachers do not enjoy the honoraria for teaching overload or the overtime pay as stipulated in the Magna Carta. There is indeed a special hardship allowance (SHA), but it is implemented incorrectly as it is based only on a mere DBM circular which says that the maximum amount shall not exceed 25% of a teacher’s monthly salary contrary to the mandate of Magna Carta that 25% shall be the minimum. And that one salary grade higher upon retirement is another myth, for the GSIS uses its own policy for computing the retirement benefits of teachers. These three items are all required by the law, thus the DBM, GSIS and DepEd are duty-bound to implement them fully,” Basas explained.

Basas said that beyond those provisions, the Magna Carta which is considered as the Bible of public school teachers ensures other benefits such as consent for transfer and transportation allowance, salary increment from lowest to highest within a maximum period of ten years, paid study leave for those who served for seven years and criteria set for determination of salaries.

“However, crucial at this time of pandemic are the provisions for free and compulsory medical examination, treatment and hospitalization, and compensation for injuries. These important provisions are not implemented until this very day when the teachers need it most,” Basas continued.

Thus, the TDC commends the initiative of Sen. Win Gatchalian, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic Education for filing Senate Resolution No. 522 that seeks for a comprehensive review of the Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.

“This is the first major step in recent decades to critically analyze the law and the failure of government agencies- past and present to implement its provisions especially those that need funding to ensure teachers’ welfare. We hope that funds for this law will be realized next fiscal year,” Basas ended.

The TDC has been lobbying for the full implementation of the welfare provisions of Magna Carta, advocacy that propelled the group’s formation in 2006.

For details:
Benjo Basas, National Chairperson
09273356375/ 09230819750

TEACHERS’ DIGNITY COALITION (TDC)
Telephone No: (02) 6920-296/ 0917-1138336
4443 BCL Homes, Independence St., Gen.T. De Leon, Valenzuela City

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[Press Release] EcoWaste Coalition Backs Provision of Free Reusable Cloth Masks as a Complementary Step to COVID-19 Preventive Measures

EcoWaste Coalition Backs Provision of Free Reusable Cloth Masks as a Complementary Step to COVID-19 Preventive Measures

The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental health group working toward a zero waste and toxics-free society, welcomed the government’s initiative to provide free reusable or washable face masks to the public, especially “the poorest of the poor,” amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

The group specifically liked the announcement made by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez that women’s cooperatives and micro-enterprises will be tapped for the production of at least 20 million reusable masks following the issuance by the Office of the President of Memorandum Order No. 49 last September 16.

Memorandum Order No. 49 tasked six government agencies, including the Departments of Budget and Management, Health, Social Welfare and Development and Trade and Industry, the Presidential Management Staff and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority “to coordinate and pool their resources and efforts into the production and distribution of face masks.”

Lopez yesterday said “the Office of the President wants something reusable so that it could be used multiple times and not the disposable type that has to be disposed of after being used just once or twice.”

“We support national and local government initiatives to promote the community production and use of reusable cloth masks as these can be easily washed with detergent or soap and safely reused. These initiatives will surely help in conserving resources, reducing plastic waste and in controlling the alarming pollution caused by the disposal of throw-away masks and other disposable personal protective equipment (PPE),” said Jove Benosa, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Benosa highlighted some of the advantages of reusable cloth masks amid the health, economic, environmental and humanitarian challenges facing the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

– avoiding the generation of non-biodegradable and non-recyclable used face masks littering the streets and polluting beaches and water bodies;
– utilizing reusable textile as well as other locally-available indigenous materials;
– providing alternative livelihood for community members, particularly tailors and seamstresses; and
– supporting the “buy local, go lokal” drive and other sustainability initiatives.

Wearing of reusable face masks, the EcoWaste Coalition said, should complement and not replace measures recommended by health experts to counter community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

These core preventive measures include meticulous hand hygiene, good respiratory etiquette, physical distancing, and staying at home and seeking medical attention when feeling unwell.

As reusable cloth masks are not standardized unlike registered medical-grade masks used by healthcare professionals, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the government to mentor community cooperatives and enterprises on the basic requirements for good reusable masks.

The group added that the mandatory use of face masks currently enforced should also be accompanied by continuing public education on their proper usage, as well as strict regulation on the environmentally sound management of used disposable masks.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Statement] Jubilee for the Earth- The Season of Creation 2020 -AMRSP/JPICC

Jubilee for the Earth- The Season of Creation 2020

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic minimized human activity on the earth and silenced big industries.

The Earth flourished.

There are lessons to be learned.

Climate change caused by human invasions on biodiversity impacts on the health of both the Earth and human beings. A sick world is a sick people. Yet, the pandemic also brought home in real terms the meaning of Pope Francis’ concepts of “our common home” and humanity as being a single family. No country was spared from the Covid-19 virus, yet we also gained a deeper understanding of global solidarity to address the threats to public health caused by the climate crisis.

Another Laudatu Si concept made real, “the cry of the earth, the cry of the poor”. The poor and vulnerable are hardest hit by natural disasters and pandemics.

If we want to heal the earth and heal humanity, there can be no turning back to what was perceived as normal. Listen. Nature – is asking each person living on this earth to change and evolve non-consumerist lifestyles. Evolve new forms of social economic and political systems that promote equality and just peace. Systems that protect the health of both the environment and the people. There can be no turning back to what was perceived as normal. Pope Francis’ strong words must move us to action:

We need to strengthen the conviction that we are one single human family. The Earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth. In many parts of the planet, the elderly lament that once beautiful landscapes are now covered with rubbish. Never have we so hurt and mistreated our common home as we have in the last 200 years. We are not God. The Earth was here before us and was given to us. The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit. Yet all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”

Loren McClenachan, an interdisciplinary scientist who did intensive research on marine life history says, “We are living in a 10% percent world. An order of magnitude less that it was several generations ago. When you look back in time it used to be about 90 percent more, so the fish used to be 90 percent bigger we used to catch 90 percent more big fish, there used to be 90 percent more coral.”

A healthy biodiversity will lessen the probability of another pandemic from occurring. A healthy planet is a healthy people and can be, a world at peace.

There can be no turning back. In a post-Covid 19 virus world, governments and businesses must stop destructive practices such as the use of non-renewable energy mining, logging that leads to deforestation, industrial farming and fishing, industrial production of foods and consumer goods – that infringe on wildlife and the rights of nature. Governments must also make bolder steps to prevent wars and the nuclear arms race. At the heart of nature’s plea to every human being and all governments – respect and uphold the rights of nature and human rights. Live with justice, peace, charity and compassion in our hearts.

This year’s Season of Creation theme is Jubilee for the Earth. Rooted in the Bible, jubilee according to biblical regulations, had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel. According to the Book of Leviticus, Hebrew slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven, and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. The modern-day implication of jubilee may mean no less that restoring the balance between nature and peoples, preventing wars, and upholding the “principles of equality, justice and sustainability and confirming the need for a prophetic voice in defence of our common home” Rev. Christian Krieger and H. Em. Card. Angelo Bagnasco President

The pandemic brought us face-to-face with our human vulnerability, death. But it also reaffirmed the value of life, human life and the life of nature, and the rare opportunity to act on our divinity, our innate capacities for goodness and greatness as “single human family” (laudatu Si)

A blessed and meaningful celebration of the Season of Creation!

AMRSP – Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission

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