Teachers’ group forms defense system amidst relentless attacks

Feb. 22, 2019

Photo from Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines’ Facebook page

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — In the midst of the continuing threats, intimidation, and harassments against the leaders and members of Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), the group announced it has compelled to form a mechanism that will enhance their collective strength to defend their ranks.

Dubbed as Teachers’ CHALK or Complaint Hotline and Legal Kiosk, ACT said its formation is “a concrete step towards promoting unity and solidarity inside and outside the country for the empowerment of teachers against the onslaught of state-sponsored attacks, which only continue to intensify. It is also aimed at the protection of democracy in the country.”

The group criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for the relentless and ascertaining attacks against leaders and members of ACT.

“Under the Duterte regime, the education sectors has experienced relentless and ascertaining attacks in the past recent months. From profiling of public and private school teacher members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers at the beginning of the year to downright harassment of its members,” the group said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Among the intimidations made against ACT is the profiling of its members by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the red-tagging being staged by state forces, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“Such attacks have taken on more blatant and dangerous forms as their leaders have been subjected to be terrorist-tagging, death threats, and extortion. Hence, the affronts crackdown to teacher’s rights has caused a downtrodden effect on education workers,” the statement continued.

ACT emphasized that their leaders and members are educators and not terrorist as well as they have not done anything wrong in the state.

The group also decried the latest move of the PNP and the AFP by launching an intensive suppression movement where ACT is tagged as a “communist front.”

The movement usually initiates activities in schools in the forms of anti-drug campaigns and seminars for teachers and students but actually identify ACT and other members of Makabayan bloc in the House as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).

ACT said the intensified campaign of the Duterte government against their rank “serve no other purpose than to preserve the oppressive and exploitative status quo. It further exposes who the real terrorists are.”

“With the state making enemies out of teachers and the people, we are left to rely solely on our own collective strength,” ACT pointed out.

The group also reminded the Duterte administration that they “will not be intimidated by cowardly tyrants who employ worn-out tactics of terrorist-tagging to silence our ranks and our legitimate demands.”

ACT said its leaders and members will “stand tall in the fight for justice and for the rights of teachers and of the people. As history has shown, no amount of fascism can stand in the way of a united people’s resolve for social justice.” (Hershey Matugas, HCDC intern/davaotoday.com)

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