DILG: No crackdown on ACT members
LOCAL Government Secretary Eduardo Año clarified that there is no crackdown against educators who were members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).
In a statement Monday evening, January 7, Año said what the Philippine National Police (PNP) is undertaking is “simply intelligence or information gathering which is one of its major functions.”
“It is the responsibility of the PNP to monitor any and all groups and organizations critical of the government especially those linked to militant organizations whose objective is to overthrow the dulyelected government,” he said.
The PNP has been in hot water following the leakage of an intelligence memorandum that instructs the policemen to conduct an inventory of public and private school teachers who are members of ACT.
The group said such order has caused fear among its members.
Three intelligence officials were relieved from the post due to the incident, prompting the teachers group to picket outside police and education department offices and denounce the said memorandum.
However, Año said they are willing to sit down and discuss the matter with the concerned parties, including the Department of Education (Deped).
“We would be glad to meet with our partners in Deped at the soonest possible opportunity,” he said.
“Through this meeting with our counterparts with Deped, we hope to relay to them that what the PNP
is undergoing is not only legal but also necessary,” he added.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Chief Police Director Guillermo Eleazar said they are also willing to have dialogue with the ACT members to shed light on the matter.
For its part, the Commission on Human Rights condemned the issuance of such order.
“It is important to establish that the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) is recognized to be a legitimate organization for both teaching and nonteaching personnel, so far, there has been no court order that declares them as a terrorist organization; thus, investigating them on mere insinuations of being linked to the Left is akin to red tagging,” it said.
“But even if they are members of any leftist organization, there is no law that prohibits such. The Anti-subversion Act has been long repealed,” it added.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) also said they “vehemently condemns” the profiling of member-educators of the ACT which was even supported by the Deped.
They called for the PNP to get their hands off their teachers.
“It is a shame that this intelligence memorandum to profile members of ACT was even endorsed by the Department of Education,” it said in statement.
“This move by the Duterte administration is an expression of its desperation to quell any form of resistance. Our teachers have successfully championed campaigns for higher salary and students’ rights, and are still continuing to impart patriotism and critical thinking to students. The profiling serves as the government’s reaction to scare away nationalism and sense of justice from the students’ and teachers’ minds. It also serves as a pretext to offenses against our educators and their right to unionize,” it added.
The NUSP said it only goes to show that the administration is enraged by how universities and schools manage to mobilize thousands of students against the” dictator’s fascist tactics.”
“This is very apparent by their strong desire to pinpoint members of ACT to prevent them from protesting. Likewise, students still remember how last October, the government released a list of schools that are allegedly breeding grounds of those they call terrorists,” the group added./sunstar Philippines