DILG: No crack­down on ACT mem­bers

Sun Star Bacolod - - Topstories -

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

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