DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Community teachers under the Association of Community Educators (ACE) commemorated the National Teachers’ Month with a rally Friday September 30, to call on the government to protect teachers in indigenous people’s communities who are facing threats and are accused as rebel supporters.
Ricky Balilid, vice chairperson of the Association of Community Educators said more than 160 community schools with almost 500 volunteer faculty and staff “remain as targets of vilification and harassment.”
“Amid efforts of the Department of Education to ensure the advancement of IP education in all arena, community educators continue to face threats and intimidation,”Balilid said.
He cited the case of Ronie Garcia, school administrator of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center , who reported that he was being tailed by unidentified men. The Salugpungan teachers also reported that their school was tagged as a school of the New People’s Army by government forces.
“Two Salugpungan support staff, Dominiciano Muya and Amelia Pond were incarcerated on false accusations of being NPA commanders,” Balilid said.
The teachers gathered in front of the Ateneo de Davao University, where the Department of Education in Region 11 was holding the culmination program for the National Teachers’ Month to call on the government to address the issue of killings and harassment of community school teachers and students.
The group also demanded the government to provide protection and safety for volunteer personnel and teachers who are serving in highly-militarized areas.
They also asked for government subsidy to community and Lumad learning institutions. (davaotoday.com)