Teachers condemn ‘murderous reign of state terror’

Published December 22, 2020, 6:39 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A federation of teachers vehemently condemned the “brutal abuse” of power of a police officer that claimed the lives of a mother and son in Paniqui, Tarlac.

“As educators who teach human rights and instill the imperativeness of the rule of law in a civilized society, we are anguished and enraged at the rapid deterioration of the basic tenets of a democratic society under the rule of the tyrannical regime,” said the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines.

On Dec. 20, a police officer shot and killed two neighbors over a personal disagreement. The incident was caught on video and has since sparked a public outrage.

For ACT, the heinous murder adds to the “bloody list of crimes” committed by state forces against the Filipino people.

ACT noted that on top of the various challenges in the crisis-ridden education system, the teachers’ duties are made even “more difficult by the prevalence of lawless violence and wanton disregard for rights, freedoms, and national and international laws.”

“How can we impart basic lessons of morality and humanity to millions of youth when terror reigns in our country?” ACT asked.

“Worse so that these are encouraged, rewarded, and/or perpetrated by no less than officials and state forces such as the police and the military,” the group alleged.

For ACT, they see no better way to effectively perform their mandates as educators and to contribute to the Filipino people’s continuing struggle for democracy and social justice than to turn to the lessons of history—the “rights and liberties we have today were won over” by the fighting Filipino people.

“To teach democracy and human rights, we must daringly uphold and exercise these in the service of the Filipinos, especially as the government has turned its back on its mandate to protect and uphold the same,” ACT said.

For the group, any and all curtailment of freedoms “must be resisted” and any—and all—infringements and attacks on the people’s democratic rights “must be strongly opposed.”

ACT lamented that in the more than four years under the Duterte administration, “we have seen how uniformed men have emerged as a privileged group above the law, instead of its implementer.”

For ACT, the most “condemnable” are the highest officials “who notoriously bends the law to their favor while cruelly and unforgivingly imposing the same laws on ordinary Filipinos who are grappling to survive amid the multiple crises plaguing the country.”