‘Huli Week?’ Teachers slam arrest of progressive leaders amid quarantine restrictions

Published March 30, 2021, 5:29 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A federation of teachers condemned the arrest progressive leaders in various locations during the Holy Week, amid the quarantine restrictions enforced by the government.

(Pixabay / FILE PHOTO)

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), in a statement on Tuesday, March 30, (Holy Tuesday), strongly condemned the “arrest progressive leaders and raid their offices and homes” in Tarlac and Pampanga, Central Luzon.

“Pampanga is under household-level lockdowns with police forces deployed in every barangay,” said ACT. “Instead of focusing all its efforts on controlling the raging pandemic and providing aid to locked down communities, the government opted to take advantage of such restrictions to hunt down their targets for repression and state terror,” it added.

ACT said that Florentino ‘Pol’ Viuya, KMU’s Workers Alliance in Region III chairperson and current BAYAN-Gitnang Luzon chairperson, and Joseph Canlas, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) vice chairperson and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) leader are currently detained.

“Both leaders and their organizations have been targets of red-tagging in the last few months, similar to many other progressive groups and their members who have since suffered similar attacks on lives, liberty, and security,” ACT said.

On March 28, Palm Sunday, ACT alleged that “another red-tagged labor leader was shot dead in Laguna” and “weeks before that, our own Teacher Lai Consad—ACT Caraga union secretary and Asst. Principal—was unjustly arrested on trumped up charges.”

ACT noted that “relentless attacks on our organizations and leaders are attacks on the just causes we forward: aid and medical services amid the pandemic, free distribution of lands to farmers, decent wages and salaries, better social services for the people—all of which are democratic rights that the Duterte regime is mandated, but has so far failed, to ensure.”

The group also alleged that the government “resorts to silencing our voices through the weaponization of the law in its vicious war on dissent, as it seeks to establish a tyrannical reign that benefits only the President and his ilk.”  

As “teachers of human rights and democracy,” ACT urged the Filipino people in denouncing the “repressive government and demanding justice and accountability” – noting that “as long as social injustice prevails, unrest will continue.”