Teachers commemorate World Teachers’ Day with protests

Teachers from different schools in Metro Manila marched to Mendiola last Friday in Manila to commemorate World Teachers’ Day with a protest rally.

Led by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) and ACT Teachers Party, they staged a National Day of Action for salary increase and against TRAIN Law of the Duterte Government.

Similar protests and actions were also held in Davao City, Cebu City, Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions.

According to Joselyn Martinez, National Chairperson of ACT, teachers experience the most oppression among government employees despite their leading role in social development.

The Duterte government failed in its promise to increase the salary of public school teachers unlike the military and police which was doubled this year, they said.

Teachers are also overworked due to oppressive policies like the Results-based Performance Management System and Philippine Standards for Teachers, they added.

They were force to attend different seminars and pay from their own pocket while their allowances are often delayed in arriving, Martines added.

According to Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers Party, the P50 billion budget cut for basic education next year will definitely affect the budget for textbooks, feeding programs and other classroom materials.

The group also condemned recent harassments and intimidations against teachers.

This includes a threat of dismissal of Bacolod teachers if they push through with their planned mass leave. Police tried to prohibit Manila Public School Teachers from distributing leaflets and posters to their colleagues in the activity last October 4.

The teachers also slammed PNP Chief Oscar Albayalde about his warning of contempt to professors who teach ‘rebellious ideas’ to the students, citing that this is an attack following the ‘Red October’ Scare spread by the military and government cover up to the real issues such as inflation rate and TRAIN law.  (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)


Army units harass Lumad mentors on World Teachers’ Day

Two teachers of Lumad schools in far south Mindanao were harassed by Philippine Army Units last October 5, World Teachers’ Day, an indigenous peoples’ rights group reported.

In a statement, the Center for Lumad Advocacy, Networking and Services Inc. (CLANS) said volunteer teacher Aubrey Masalon was arrested Thursday by the 73rd Infantry Battalion (IB) in Sitio Lamsalo, Brgy. Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani Province, along with husband Nestor and another community leader.

On the same day, 27th IB soldiers swooped down on Purok Tadluga, Sitio Salaubon, Brgy. Upper Sepaka, Surallah, South Cotabato to look for volunteer teacher Famela Taplan they reportedly accused of being a supporter of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“We vehemently condemn these ongoing harassment by the 73rd and 27th Infantry Battalions against the two volunteer teachers of the CLANS Community Schools on World Teachers Day last October 5 no less,” the group said.

Earlier, on October 4, the 73rd IB allegedly illegally arrested and detained four community leaders  in Sitio Datal Kampong, Malapatan town.

Also last October 2, Taplan was summoned by Brgy. Upper Sepaka chairperson Pudi Ambalgan for a supposed meeting on the CLANS school’s permit.

She failed to attend but was later informed her school was accused of being an NPA front and that she had to “clear her name” at the local police station on October 4.

Taplan chose to proceed to the CLANS headquarters in General Santos City instead after a local official failed to accompany her to the police station as promised.

CLANS said Taplan’s sitio leader Romeo A. Queliste is willing to attest to her work as a volunteer teacher in their community.

“After the forcible closure of 33 CLANS schools, the escalating attacks against Lumad teachers and students are direct results of President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao,” CLANS said.

“These incidents show that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Duterte himself are bent on suppressing the Lumads’ struggle to defend their ancestral domain,” the group added.

CLANS called on the Duterte government to lift martial law in Mindanao and resume formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines “for the Lumad and the Filipino people to achieve just and lasting peace.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Teachers demand pay increase and peace

On World Teachers Day 2016, union members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) trooped to the gates of Malacanang Palace in Manila to assert education as a right of the people. Read more