ACT Teachers highlights the fight against

Human Rights violations of government

on International Human Rights Day!

December 10 2019 - As the world commemorates the International Human Rights Day, various global formations led by the Education International (EI) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) take up the plight of trade unionists and human rights defenders in the Philippines—in particular, the worsening state attacks against teacher-unionists and the entire education sector. Protests are being staged today at Philippine embassies in Brussels, Geneva, and in other countries.

Filipino teachers and education workers, led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, take to the frontlines to demand respect for our rights and granting of our just calls. Our battlecry, Sweldo Itaas, Hindi Pandarahas (raise our salaries, stop the attacks), encapsulates these demands to the government. As a federation of education workers’ unions and organizations, we have campaigned and protested for better economic and social services but the exercise of our rights in the furtherance of the welfare of teachers, students, and the rest of the Filipino people have made us targets of increasingly fascist attacks from no less than the government. Since the start of the year, we have documented 36 cases of illegal profiling by the PNP; national and regional leaders of our unions have been subjected to surveillance, threats, terror-tagging, and vilification; two of our regional coordinators have been incarcerated on trumped up charges; a teacher-leader have more ludicrous charges filed against her; and two of our union members had suffered a failed extrajudicial killing. The legitimacy of our organization has not stopped the military from intervening in our legal endeavors and from launching a smear campaign against us, facilitated by no less than our very education agencies—the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education, who are both members of the Duterte administration’s counterinsurgency machinery, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). In various instances, the NTF-ELCAC, military officials, and other state agents have tagged us as terrorists in an effort to legitimize its attacks against us, meant only to curtail our rights.

To coincide with simultaneous international protests of global trade union federations led by the Education International and International Trade Union Confederation, in solidarity teachers hold a noise barrage in Quezon Avenue and March with lanterns from Liwasang Bonifacio to Mendiola to bring attention to the worsening human rights crisis under the Duterte administration, highlighting the various HR violations and attacks against the education sector. At the heart of teachers' every struggle—decent pay, bigger budget, better education programs, academic freedom—is every teacher's pledge to contribute to national development through education. Together with educators all over the world, we are dreaming and working towards the realization of every child's right to free and quality education. This aspiration is far stronger than and cannot be held back by any war for repression. Hand in hand with teachers from other nations, Filipino teachers will advance to fight against tyranny and for democracy and human rights. Long Live International Solidarity!