‘Pro­fil­ing’ of teach­ers vi­o­lates right to union­ism, says Ne­gocc la­bor group

Sun Star Bacolod - - Top Stories - BY ER­WIN P. NICAVERA

A LA­BOR group based in Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal said the “pro­fil­ing” of teach­ers by the mem­bers of the Philip­pine Na­tional Po­lice (PNP) vi­o­lates the right to union­ism.

Wen­nie San­cho, sec­re­tary-gen­eral of Gen­eral Al­liance and Work­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (Gawa), said union­ism is a con­sti­tu­tional right.

San­cho said aside from be­ing a hu­man right, it is also a statu­tory right un­der the la­bor code.

“Work­ers in the pub­lic sec­tor are also cov­ered by Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der No. 180 is­sued dur­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion of former pres­i­dent Co­ra­zon Aquino,” he said, adding that “it al­lows union­ism in the pub­lic sec­tor.”

The lo­cal la­bor leader is re­act­ing to the re­ported “pro­fil­ing” of some mem­bers of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Con­cerned Teach­ers (ACT) in the coun­try.

Though, Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary Ed­uardo Año has al­ready clar­i­fied that there is no crack­down against ed­u­ca­tors who were mem­bers of ACT.

Año, in a state­ment Mon­day, said what the 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 added.

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 teacher’s group said such or­der has caused fear among its mem­bers.

Three in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials were re­lieved from the post due to the in­ci­dent, prompt­ing the teacher’s group to picket out­side po­lice and ed­u­ca­tion de­part­ment of­fices and de­nounce the said mem­o­ran­dum.

Ac­cord­ing to Gawa, for the po­lice to mon­i­tor or make pro­fil­ing on la­bor ad­vo­cate like trade union­ists, whether in pub­lic or pri­vate schools, is a vi­o­la­tion of civil rights.

In par­tic­u­lar, this vi­o­lates the right to form an as­so­ci­a­tion which is ac­tu­ally not con­trary to the law, San­cho said.

“La­bor unions are not or­ga­nized to sup­port com­mu­nism or arm strug­gle,” he said, stress­ing that “these are ba­sic rights to be im­ple­mented un­der the con­sti­tu­tion.”

The la­bor group also claimed that if such “move” of the po­lice would con­tinue, it would cre­ate an aura of fear among work­ers.

Thus, there is a need to re­view such kind of pol­icy, its sec­re­tary gen­eral said.

“If I may sug­gest, the po­lice should at­tend a ba­sic sem­i­nar on ba­sic union­ism so they will un­der­stand what is a union, or a la­bor union for this mat­ter,” San­cho added.*

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