By Chito Chavez
The militant teacher’s group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) has expressed alarm over the 911 election hotspots the Philippine National Police (PNP) identified.
With 57.60 percent of the 1,634 cities and municipalities declared as such, ACT said this sends an alarming and disturbing military control scenario in the May 13 mid-term elections.
As military and police forces are expected to be deployed, ACT feared that possible human rights violations may happen in these elections hotspots.
“We are worried that this is another of the Duterte regime’s attempt to condition the public into accepting intensified military hold in the country, which has grown out of hand as they intend to subject even the very exercise of people’s democratic rights under military rule,” said Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson.
Martinez stressed the Duterte administration might be outdoing itself this time as it launched another, more brazen attack against democracy.
She added “that this is part and parcel of the increasingly fascist and tyrannical measures used by the state to silence dissent and stifle democracy, which has caused immense unrest among the people’’.
“The scale of electoral threat and danger the state presupposes indicates the magnitude of the divide and disorder our country has been put into due to Duterte’s war policies,” said Martinez.
However, ACT said that such cannot be used to justify the ‘militarization of elections’ and called on the government not to exploit the historically precarious situation during this time to forward their martial law agenda.
“Heightened presence and intervention of police and military forces may cause distress among voters and discourage them from participating in the elections. After all, these are notorious human rights violators who have been known to use intimidation and brute force against legitimate exercises of democratic rights,” stressed Martinez.
This is where teachers’ crucial role comes in, says ACT. As election vanguards, teachers pledge to resist any attempt to compromise civilian supremacy in the conduct of the coming midterm polls.
“We are one with the people in calling for a clean, honest and peaceful elections,” concluded Martinez.