January 9, 2019
QUEZON CITY – “An attack on one of us is an attack against all of us”. This was the statement made by Teachers Dignity Coalition (TDC) national chairperson and Benjo Basas upon hearing of the profiling of members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) by the national police with the consent and endorsement of certain Education department officials.
The group condemned the malicious profiling of teachers by the PNP as well as the connivance of certain DepEd officials who endorsed the surveillance of teachers.
PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde admitted in press conference Monday that their intelligence gathering was not limited to members of ACT.
Basas strongly demanded the DepEd to stand firm against all intrusions and transgressions of their rights and well being as state employees and hold accountable officials who conspired with the national police without providing sufficient reason.
The group says that the revocation of the endorsement letter is insufficient to guarantee the full protection of their rights.
“The DepEd cannot expect teachers to be as effective stewards of the next generation if we are being subjected to harassment and intimidation for merely joining an organization to seek what we rightfully deserve,” Basas said.
He adds, “it is distressing for us to find out that an institution with such noble goals be a willing tool to the fascist machinations of this administration”.
He pointed out that public school teachers are overworked, undercompensated and continuously deprived of our economic and political rights, and are now being maliciously red-tagged for merely asserting what is granted to them by law.
Basas, first nominee of partylist group Partido Lakas ng Masa cited that among the issues they have long lobbied for is the full implementation of the provisions of Republic Act 4670 or the Magna Carta of Public School Teachers which includes the freedom to organize.
In last year’s National Teachers Month, the more than 30,000-strong TDC held protests demanding the implementation of the six hour work day under DepEd Memorandum 291 of 2008 and DepEd Order 16 of 2009, following three suicide cases last year attributed to heavy workloads.
This culminated in a campout outside the DepEd Central office in Pasig City from September 24 to October 5.
Meanwhile, TDC chairman for the National Capital Region Nono Esguerra of Roxas High School called on the DepEd to uphold the confidentiality & privacy of records of its employees and protect them from possible harm and danger.
He reminds the DepEd that it is within its mandate to implement the right and freedom to organize and non-discrimination enshrined in Magna Carta for Public School Teachers.
Basas indicated that they are willing to march side-by-side with ACT members. “Unity is required to derail whatever sinister plans the PNP have up their sleeve. We will do whatever is required for teachers to be treated as dignified professionals and not what the police are painting us to be”.
TDC, a rival organization of ACT, was founded in 2006 with the purpose of advancing the interests and general welfare of all public school teachers.
He warned that the continued neglect and persecution of teachers under the present administration will give rise to a unified teachers’ movement that may launch bolder actions to advance their interests, similar to the wave of teachers’ strikes that hit the United States last year.
“Hindi ba kapag napuno na ang salop, dapat na itong kalusin,” Basas averred.