By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A congressman representing teachers called for a stop to the profiling, harassment, of government workers in the education sector.
ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro made the call as she led the filing of a resolution Tuesday urging the House Committee on Human Rights to look into the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) monitoring of the ALL U.P. Academic Employees Union (AUPAEU) in Iloilo and Cebu.
“The profiling of teachers and professors who are union leaders and members must end. Members and leaders of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Union and the All U.P. Academic Employees Union have been in the forefront when it comes with the salaries, benefits, rights, regularization and tenure of public school teachers and U.P. employees and faculty. They are not criminals that could be subjected to profiling and harassment by the police,” Castro said.
“We want to remind the police and the Duterte administration that organizing a union is not a crime. In fact, workers have the right to unionize and the Duterte administration is violating the rights of these government workers as they continue to harass and threaten their leaders and members,” she added.
Castro cited a letter dated June 25 of the Miag-ao Municipal Police Station to the UP Visayas administration “for information regarding the members of All UP Academic Union-Iloilo Chapter.”
“This request cited no reason, whether factual or legal, for the intelligence gathering, merely stating a “mandate from the higher headquarters” directing the information gathering,” Castro’s House Resolution 65, which she filed, along with other Makabayan bloc members, noted.
“The AUPAEU Iloilo Chapter traces this groundless police surveillance as the PNP’s fascist response to its statement criticizing the Duterte administration’s mishandling of the incident in Recto Bank,” she said.
Castro said the profiling follows the death threats against AUPAEU-Cebu Chapter President Dr. Phoebe Zoe Maria Sanchez, sent through text messages on June 27, the vilification and red-tagging of progressive groups and the sham “Red October” plot.
“This intelligence monitoring of the PNP without any lawful order is a form of harassment and a violation of the right to organization, free speech, and the right to privacy of its members not just of the Iloilo Chapter, but of the entire Union nationwide,” the resolution said.
Castro said they filed HR 65 to urge Congress to investigate and condemn the profiling, harassment and threats against government workers in the education sector.
She called on the House ” to table the many human rights resolutions already filed by the Makabayan bloc and not let resolutions that seek justice for the Filipino people rot in the 18th Congress.”