By Alliance of Concerned Teachers
November 7, 2018
QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) lambasted the recent moves of the Philippine National Police and the Commission on Higher Education to launch anti-illegal drug operations in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
“After terrorizing communities and killing thousands in the guise of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, PNP now plans to take its bloody and evidently failing ‘Oplan Tokhang’ into colleges and universities, with no less than CHEd holding the doors open for them,” decried Raymond Basilio, ACT Philippines’ Secretary General.
Basilio signaled alarm over the scenario of police forces entering university premises to conduct operations against teachers and students which, he said, will lay the academe vulnerable to abuses and rights violations. He cited the numerous controversial cases of abuse allegedly committed by the implementors of ‘Oplan Tokhang’, which he tagged as “abhorrent” and “anti-poor”; most recent of which is the widely protested case of a Manila cop raping a drug suspect’s teenage daughter, which the accused claimed as ‘common practice in drug bust operations’.
“We cannot allow the PNP, who are notorious human rights violators, to come into our schools. We cannot accept the government’s treatment of schools as a breeding ground for criminals. Schools are safe havens for learning!” Basilio added.
Basilio expressed “serious concern” that this may be another attempt at “terrorizing students” as demonstrated in last month’s ‘terrorist-tagging’ of 18 metro manila universities and colleges alleged to be part of the ‘Red October Plot’.
'Why does it seem like state forces are so eager on meddling with school affairs? When their trite effort to connect universities to the so-called Red October did not sell, they came up again with this equally devious ploy. Students and teachers are not criminals! If anything, the fight we are waging is against ignorance with only our pens and papers as weapons. Doesn’t the PNP agree with our mission to mould an educated and socially-aware citizenry?” asked Basilio.
He further observed that the Duterte administration’s anti-drug war seems to be ‘wrongly directed against civilian spaces of peace and security such as schools and poor communities’.
“While state forces are hell-bent on disturbing our peace, they are remarkably silent when Malacañang said that electoral candidates cannot be subjected to drug testing,” lamented Basilio.
He noted that while Pres. Duterte was repeatedly quoted saying that the objective of his anti-illegal drug campaign is to save the youth who are the future our nation, “it is ironic that the very same policy cut short the lives of our students, such as in the case of Kian de los Santos.”
“The Duterte administration must stop with this foolishness. If it is truly serious in its commitment to the youth, we dare the President to stop the impending cuts in the 2019 budget of State Universities and Colleges (SUCs) and instead provide higher allocations to address the real needs of the students in SUCs,” Basilio concluded.