Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) secretary general Raymond Basilio is this year’s National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) International Solidarity Award “for bravery and commitment in promoting human and trade union rights.”
In an letter, NASUWT, the teachers union of the United Kingdom (UK), also cited Basilio for his advocacy for quality education for all and for defending [the] status of teachers.
“The NASUWT International Solidarity Award honors those who uphold our shared, universal trade union values of solidarity, equality and democracy,” the announcement reads.
“We recognize that you have been a vocal advocate of the right of all children to quality education and of the rights of teachers,” it adds.
Basilio had been the victim of vicious red-tagging by the Philippine military, prompting him to refrain from going home to his family for long stretches.
“[W]e wish…to express our deep concern and dismay at the continuing state-sponsored threats and harassment that you and your (ACT) members have been subjected to, including profiling, red-tagging, vilification, harassment, intimidation and threats,” NASUWT said.
NASUWT said that along with Amnesty International, Education International and the International Trade Union Confederation it will press the Philippine government to allow Basilio to carry out his legitimate trade union activities without fear of harassment or imprisonment.
“The NASUWT wants you, and the teachers in the Philippines, to be assured of our continued support and solidarity,” the union told Basilio.
The union said it hopes the award will help maintain a spotlight on the actions of the Philippine government and provide Basilio with reassurance that NASUWT and the wide international community, continue to support him fully and ACT as champions of the rights of teachers and students.
Previous recipients of the prize since 2013 include teachers rights champions from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, South Korea, Turkey, Iran and Argentina.
The NASUWT announcement said that because of the coronavirus pandemic, it regrets that Basilio would not be able to receive the prize in the UK in person. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)