‘No lockdown on rights’: Education workers to join SONA ng BAYAN protest

Published July 26, 2021, 1:59 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

There is no stopping the country’s teachers from marching alongside many sectors this Monday, July 26, to express dismay over President Duterte’s “empty” promises and programs and policies that resulted in the suffering of the country’s education sector.


The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines said education workers will join the SONA ng Bayan protest on Monday.

“Among the most resounding charges of the sector against President Duterte is his failure to fulfill his promise of doubling teachers’ salaries or at least effecting a substantial pay raise, which earned him the tag ‘#TaksilSaPangako’ among public school teachers,” it said in a statement.

It noted that hundreds of teachers are set to participate with comics-themed placards bearing their calls for accountability from the Duterte administration that “abandoned education” amid multiple crises.

The theme was inspired by the rise of protesting artists after Tarantadong Kalbo’s #Tumindig artwork took social media by storm, the ACT said.

“Matapos ang limang taong pasakit ng administrasyong Duterte sa mga guro at sa buong sektor ng edukasyon, muli kaming lalahok sa SONA ng Bayan upang maningil (After five years of torture by the Duterte administration on teachers and the entire education sector, we will once again participate in the SONA ng Bayan to charge him),” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

“Higit lalong malaki ang hamon sa ating lahat na tumindig sa harap ng bantang ma-extend pa sa puwesto si Duterte mismo o ang kanyang anak at mga alipores. Tama na, sobra na, wakasan na (It is an even greater challenge for all of us to stand up in the face of the threat of Duterte himself extending his term or his children and henchmen. That’s enough, that’s too much, let’s end it),” he added.

He said Duterte’s “incompetent leadership” prodded them to take their pro-education demands to the streets, citing that they have constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and protest on President Duterte’s final SONA.

“Our schools may have been locked down for over a year now, but our constitutional rights and freedoms certainly are not. The past five years under the Duterte administration brought severe damage to our already crisis-ridden education—our teachers and support staff are more overworked and underpaid than ever; education became even more inaccessible and with poorer quality due to the under-supported distance learning program and yearly budget cuts; the lack of aid for private sector employees and education institutions resulted in the displacement of thousands of teachers; academics, teachers, and universities are red-tagged; academic freedom is under attack; and the pandemic continues to rage on due to the botched handling of the regime. All of these and more are what compel us to take to the streets and protest Duterte’s incompetent leadership,” Basilio said.