DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The profiling of teachers associated with Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) by the Philippine National Police (PNP) apparently continued, with reports of a similar letter coming from the local police asking for a list of teachers who are members of ACT in Northern Mindanao.
ACT Region 10 posted in its Facebook page a copy of the letter signed by a certain SPO3 Marvin Bolanio, Chief Intel of Cagayan de Oro Police Office Police Station 2 addressed to the Principal of Camaman-an Elementary School, which was received on Monday January 14 at around 2:00 in the afternoon, requesting for a list of teachers who are members of ACT.
ACT Region 10 President Ophelia Gallardo-Tabacon denounced the police’s profiling, as a form of harassment and blatant violation of their right to privacy.
Stated in the letter: “This document will not just provide important information but will also contribute to positive progress including the strengthening of the relationship between the organization and the Government.”
“Profiling in a way to threaten ACT members is a clear violation of the right to self-organization, freedom of expression and assembly, right to privacy, as well as the Republic Act No. 4670 (Magna Carta for Public School Teachers) – Sections 27, 28 and 29,” Gallardo-Tabacon said.
The group condemned the continuing profiling by the police despite the statement made by Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde last Jan.7, that he did not sign any order to conduct such inventory against ACT members or allies.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones issued Memorandum No. 002 series of 2019, directing its officials to refer interagency requests for data that may involve sharing of sensitive personal information in their custody-whether they may be of teaching or nonteaching personnel, or learners to the Office of the Secretary.”
Such requests will be evaluated by the agency’s Data Protection Officer on the “applicability of pertinent laws and regulations including the Republic Act No. 10173 entitled Data Privacy Act of 2012.”
On Thursday, ACT officials along with their lawyers from the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) filed their petition before the Court of Appeals, for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order over the PNP profiling of ACT members across the country.
They are seeking to declare the PNP memoranda as illegal and unconstitutional “for violating basic human rights on freedom of association and assembly, freedom of expression, to privacy and to labor.”
Reports of threats and harassments were received by ACT officials after the PNP profiling on ACT members went public.
Last Jan 11, ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio received a phone call threatening him that he would be killed. According to Basilio, the unknown caller said that if he won’t cooperate, the caller will push through with the assassination.
Basilio was then attending ACT’s Fifth National Leadership Training Seminar in Baguio City.
“Human rights lawyers of NUPL join our brave teachers in this legal battle of upholding their human rights which the Duterte government habitually and consciously tramples upon with impunity. It would be best for the government to heed the legitimate calls of our teachers, who keep nose to grind stones in fulfilling their sublime mission of imparting knowledge and guiding future leaders, despite outright abandonment of State responsibility to the education sector,” NUPL said in a statement.
“And for these rights violators in uniform, they should start preparing now for their “graded recitation” before the courts of justice and the public and claim their failing grade of “5” for their abuses,” NUPL added. (davaotoday.com)