By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
A group of teachers decried the “pork-infested” 2019 budget and vowed to “work tirelessly” to advance the struggle of teachers and other education workers.
On Friday night, both chambers of Congress ratified the proposed P3.757-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2019. Before it was signed, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to Camp Aguinaldo where the bicameral committee finalized the 2019 budget for Congress ratification. Members of the group were clad in swine masks to show their “disdain and condemnation” of the alleged budget insertions or “pork.”
“We were taken for a ride in the past months as our lawmakers brazenly squander our money as they fought over billions of ‘pork’,” ACT National Chairperson Joselyn Martinez said. She noted that the Congress sealed “yet another year of suffering for millions of Filipinos who will be denied quality health care, education, and housing.”
Earlier, ACT urged lawmakers to “prioritize” budget demands of the people for services, decent wages, and other economic measures. “The shameless decision of the bicameral committee to approve billions of congressional pork proves that these elected officials are mere politicians whose vested interests will always trump the interests of the people,” Martinez said. “Meanwhile, genuine public servants such as teachers and other rank-and-file employees are subjected to poverty and political persecution,” she added.
For the group, the “pork-infested” budget reflects that the “government is hell-bent” on making people suffer. Given this, ACT vowed that teachers and education workers will continue to work tirelessly to advance their struggle and to strengthen their solidarity with other sectors as they fight for social justice. “We therefore have no other recourse but to rely on our collective strength and unity as we continue to fight for our just demands,” she ended.