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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

AMPR to choose new leadership, vote on regs

By The Star Staff

On Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel in San Juan, some 500 delegates from the Puerto Rico Teachers Association (AMPR) will elect their president and vice president for the next three years.

It is also expected that those present will vote for or against 17 amendments to AMPR regulations.

The candidates are the current president Víctor Manuel Bonilla Sánchez and Raúl González as vice president. They are challenged by José Eligio Vélez Jr. and Sibarys Morales Paniagua for president and vice president, respectively.

“I assumed the presidency at the worst moment in its history, after the departure of President Aida Díaz; after a year of inaction by her successor Elba Aponte; in the most convulsive moments of the educational system after hurricanes, earthquakes and a pandemic; and in the middle of the Puerto Rico bankruptcy negotiation process,” Bonilla Sánchez said. “The teachers became the hardest-hit working class with the disastrous approval of the Debt Adjustment Plan. Even with all this outlook, I said I was present, and I have been at the forefront, forming a work team with my colleagues to work for the teachers’ cause.”

Vélez, whose father presided over the institution for 28 years starting in 1971, said meanwhile that: “Our motto is: All for the reconstruction of our Association.”

“Let’s strengthen what we already have,” he said. “The Teachers Association has a history that Puerto Rico and the teachers recognize.”

Added Morales Paniagua: “The enrollment has been asking for a change, because for many years, and we know it, because they have been retired teachers [those who have directed the institution].”

“We are active classroom teachers and were asked to run by both chairpersons and delegates,” she said. “That is the reason and we are fulfilling our commitment as associates who love our institution and who want the best.”

Both Bonilla and Vélez want to increase benefits for retirees and active teachers.

“There is so much to do. The transformative vision that I want to implement for the AMPR requires the trust, unity and organization of the associates,” Bonilla Sánchez said. “As part of this plan we have 20 initial strategies that will contribute to the achievement of our objectives, which includes the evaluation of the organization’s finances.”

Vélez noted that “in our institution at the moment, what we have today, unfortunately I have to say, is a static and reactive administration.”

“We also have an institution in which information is sequestered. We do not know what is happening, we have an administration that is in dilation. When I say this, it is as if the Teachers Association has gotten into a time capsule, as if it had given up and stopped doing things, and in two months now we have seen how it has reacted. The Association is away from the base. The vision of the Teachers Association is: to help, to get closer to the base, which are the teachers. That we owe to them.”

Regarding the amendments to the AMPR regulations, there are 17 proposals by Bonilla Sánchez that are not to the liking of the challengers.

The process begins at 9 a.m. and must end on Thursday afternoon.

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