Teachers’ group: Censure VP Sara over ‘Red-tagging’
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to condemn Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte for publicly accusing their group of having ties with communist rebels.
In a letter to the constitutional agency on Wednesday, ACT requested CHR Chair Richard Palpal-Latoc to release a public statement denouncing the “Red-tagging” of Duterte against their group.
ACT also asked the commission to conduct an investigation on the attacks against their regional unions and remind security personnel that schools were zones of peace and that they were not allowed inside campuses.
The teachers’ group cited Duterte’s “outright Red-tagging” of ACT through official statements of the education department and a joint press conference with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
“Red-tagging was the answer of the Vice President to our call for [the] construction of additional classrooms and [the] hiring of additional teachers to address the pity state of public education in the country,” said Raymond Basilio, ACT secretary general.
The education chief has repeatedly associated their group with communist rebels after ACT asked the Department of Education to suspend classes in areas that would be affected by a nationwide transport strike in March.
In a series of public statements, Duterte also linked them with the Masbate armed conflict when they called for the hiring of 30,000 public school teachers annually.
Since 2019, Basilio said their members and leaders were subjected to various forms of human rights violations like illegal profiling, Red-tagging and online vilification, with many of their officials also receiving death threats through phone calls or messages.
“Many of these cases were filed by the ACT to the International Labour Organization (ILO) as these were also in violation of the teachers’ freedom of association (ILO Convention 87), to which the Philippines is one of the signatories,” he said.
When the ILO conducted its High-Level Tripartite Mission (HLTM) to the Philippines on Jan. 23, the cases filed by ACT were among those investigated by the international body.
“It is wearisome that instead of acting positively on the report and recommendations of the ILO-HLTM, the Philippine government did not stop its demonic practice of Red-tagging and attacking workers’ freedom of association,” Basilio said.