Published June 30, 2022, 2:25 PM

by Faith Argosino

France Castro: The voice of teachers

ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Francisca L. Castro (Photo taken from House of the Representatives website)
The founding president of ACT National Capital Region (NCR) Union — the largest coalition of government employees in the Philippines —Rep. Francisca L. Castro, is a two-term House of the Representatives member.

Castro represents the ACT Teachers Partylist, a group committed to giving the country’s educators a voice and fulfilling “its special role in shaping the minds and values of the children and youth.”

Moreover, it also pledges to “represent, assist and defend teachers and other education workers in advancing our vocation, economic welfare, and democratic rights,” according to the group’s website. 

Born on May 24, 1966, Castro taught in different public schools in Metro Manila for 25 years, worked as a Master Teacher II at Quirino High School in Quezon City until 2013, and currently serves as congresswoman for the education sector, according to information sent to Manila Bulletin by ACT Partylist.

In 1987, Castro graduated cum laude and received a degree in Secondary Education, majoring in Mathematics from Philippine Normal University (then Philippine Normal College) and earned her master’s degree in Mathematics Education at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in 1996.

She also received several awards, among them the Eminent Alumnus of Philippine Normal University in 2018, the 2019 Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights, and the 2019 Febe Velasquez Trade Union Rights Award, “for her pioneering work in the trade union rights of teachers.”

The ACT Partylist office also said that in line with her advocacy for education, Castro has been part of efforts to pass the Republic Act (RA) 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act — granting free tuition to state universities and college students. 
Castro was one of the principal authors of the house bills on lowering the optional retirement age of public school teachers and other government employees from 60 to 65; increasing the minimum salaries of public school teachers and government employees; free health services to all Filipinos in all government hospitals, treatment rehabilitation centers and sanitaria, rural health centers, and barangay health centers; and Teachers’ Protection Act, the party-list organization information said.

She served as an assistant minority leader at the 18th Congress and a member of the House committees on appropriations; basic education and culture; civil service and professional regulation; constitutional amendments; dangerous drugs; economic affairs; food security; globalization and WTO; government reorganization; information and communications technology; public information; social services; trade and industry; and rules.