The NASUWT has backed calls condemning the singling out of a teacher trade union and its leadership by the Philippine government.
Education International condemned the government in Manilla following the harrassment and threats faced by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) leader Raymond D. Basilio.
At a meeting of the Executive Board of Education International Mr Basilio told of the constant harassment and threats faced by ACT members and leaders, as well as his own experience of death threats left on his mobile phone.
And shockingly he said that he was approached by a man he did not know who told him "You are next."
Mr Basilo said: “I cannot sleep in my own bed anymore, I cannot see my family nor go to the union office where I am probably awaited by public forces. I have to change my email and contacts every two weeks at the latest.”
The threats to Mr Basilo were strongly condemned by EI in its statement. The statement reads:
The Education International (EI) Executive Board meeting in Brussels, on 2-4 April 2019:
Notes with great concern the worrying developments that have been documented by EI affiliates in the Philippines, with regard to the state security forces’ profiling and red-tagging/terrorist-tagging of, and death threats against ACT-Philippines leaders.
Expresses serious concerns about the Philippine National Police’s nationally coordinated yet illegal and undemocratic profiling of ACT members in Manila, Malabon, Las Pinas, Zambales, Bulacan, Rizal, Mindoro, Sorsogon, Agusan Del Sur, implemented thru various unnumbered memoranda dated December 26, 2018; December 27, 2018; January 3, 2019; January 7, 2019; and January 14, 2019, which tramples upon teacher’s rights to self-organization and to free expression and sow terror among some teachers who are only striving for their voices to be heard in a supposedly democratic country.
Expresses condemnation of documented death threats – after the instances of profiling – against ACT leaders such as ACT Sec. Gen. Raymond Basilio (who received death threats via text messages on at least two separate occasion on January 11, 2019 and February 15, 2019. He was personally threatened also as he last January 26, 2019. Same threats through phone calls were received by Aurora Santiago (ACT Region III Coordinator), Romly Clemente (ACT Region III Union President), Mathew Santiago (ACT Region III Union Secretary), Rosa Baul and (ACT Region III Treasurer).
Deplores that Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines officials also ceaselessly demonize ACT and its affiliate organizations as communist or communist front organization, with a recent official news release even bragging that the Philippine government has included ACT in its list of progressive people’s organizations and foundations which government officials erroneously label as communist front organizations.
Notes that ACT leaders have filed a court petition at the Court of Appeals to stop the profiling, but the court dismissed the case and a motion for reconsideration with regard to the case is still pending. An administrative case have been lodged also at the Office of Ombudsman last January 28, 2019.
Observes that these documented cases of profiling, death threats, and red-tagging of ACT members and leaders pose formidable obstacles to teachers’ right to self-organization, specifically in establishing and expanding their unions, and all these occur within the context of past and present signs of tyrannical rule in the Philippines such as tokhang killings, massacre of farmers, violent dispersals of workers' strikes, Martial Law extension in Mindanao, intensified military operation in Negros, Samar, and Bicol, closure of or military encampment in lumad (indigenous people) schools in Mindanao, all of which are aimed at silencing dissent and imposing a climate of impunity.
Notes that these cases seem to be part and parcel of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's Executive Order 70 which converted the civilian bureaucracy into a machinery against insurgency, which conducts profiling, surveillance, identification, and neutralization of organizations critical to the current regime’s anti-people acts and policies.
Mandates all EI affiliates in all parts of the world, to help collect, publish and disseminate data and evidence on these cases of profiling, harassment, red/terror tagging, and death threats against ACT-Philippines leaders and members.
Expresses firm resolve to bring these cases into the attention of international human and labor rights organizations, and even in more formal United Nations fora.