Palace: Surveillance on teachers not gov’t policy
MANILA, Philippines — The government has no policy to conduct surveillance on teachers, Malacañang said Monday, after a left-leaning teachers’ union received reports that police officers were going around schools in Metro Manila and some provinces to gather information about their members.
“Definitely, the policy is not to surveil teachers,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) over the weekend called on the police to keep its hands off its members, after at least two memoranda from the Philippine National Police circulated online, calling for an inventory of all public and private school teachers “who are members of or aligned with” ACT.
Panelo said the teachers have nothing to fear unless they are involved in illegal activities.
“If you’re not doing anything, why should you be afraid?” he said.
In an interview with ABS-CBN on Monday morning, Panelo said the group was “just paranoid.”
“Maybe they’re just paranoid. You know, you must remember that ACT is identified as a leftist organization. Maybe most of the members are not, but the leaders are,” he said.
He said it’s the duty of the police to conduct surveillance on individuals identified with communist rebels.
“Because if you are doing certain illegal acts or you are identified with the left which is now considered, I mean, the organization – the CPP-NPA – as a terrorist group, then there is something to fear if you are identified with that group,” he said.
“If they have shown any acts that will be inimical to the state, then they will be monitored. That’s the job of the police,” he added.
Panelo cited that the President “loves the teachers,” citing their salaries will be raised in a few months.
“This President is sensitive to their needs. In fact, he wants to increase their salaries. And if understand from Secretary Diokno, a few months from now there will be a new salary hike for them,” he said. /je
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