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ACT TEACHERS Representative condemns murder of Masbate teacher

3 May 2010 No Comment

July 12, 2010

 

 

ACT TEACHERS Party Representative Antonio Tinio issued a statement today condemning the killing of public school teacher Mark Francisco.

“We condemn the brutal murder of public school teacher Mark Francisco,” said Tinio. “We demand justice for our fellow-teacher and party-member.” He called on authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident and for the perpetrators to be swiftly brought to justice. According to Tinio, Francisco taught at the San Isidro Elementary School in Palanas, Masbate, was a member of ACT TEACHERS Party-Masbate, and actively campaigned for the party-list group during the last election.

Francsico, 27, was heading home on Friday, July 9, at around 5 p.m. with four other co-teachers. They were riding motorcycles. When they reached a river crossing in Sitio Umawas, Bgy. Malibas, Palanas, their group was fired upon by two armed men wearing ski masks and camouflage uniforms. Francisco fell down dead, his body riddled with bullets from an M-16 rifle. Another co-teacher was pursued by the assailants, but managed to escape on board his motorcycle and reported the incident to the authorities.

Tinio urged the Department of Education to work with the Philippine National Police and the local government authorities to extend protection to the teachers who survived the attack and who may now serve as witnesses.

Tinio pointed out that there has been a spate of violence targeting teachers in Palanas, Masbate. He noted that three days before the murder of Francisco, another public school teacher in Palanas was also ambushed. Dexter Legazpi, 36, was riding his motorcycle to school with his wife on the morning of July 6 when a group of five men wearing ski masks and military uniforms shot at them. Legazpi was able to speed away to safety on his motorcycle. Legazpi is also a member of ACT TEACHERS Party.

“Government must immediately take steps to put an end to the violence faced by teachers in Palanas town. The Aquino government’s ability to ensure the well-being and safety of its citizens is being put to the test,” said Tinio.

Francisco is the third member of a progressive party-list group to be killed within the first 10 days of President Benigno S. Aquino III’s term. On July 5, Bayan Muna-Aklan provincial coordinator Fernando Baldomero was gunned down by motorcylce-riding gunmen in Lezo, Aklan. On July 9, Pascual Guevarra, a leader of Anakpawis Party-list in Laur, Nueva Ecija, was killed by a lone gunman.

Tinio pointed out that during the election campaign period of the May 2010 elections, ACT TEACHERS Party was the target of a nationally-coordinated vilification campaign, along with other progressive party-lists such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis. “We were routinely tagged as communist and New People’s Army front organizations by the military during the campaign period and some of our members and supporters were harassed and threatened. Now, they are being attacked, and one of them, killed.”

“These murders show that the extra-judicial killing of activists continues to take place under the new dispensation of Pres. Aquino. It’s only been a few days, yet the death toll is already rising. We expect nothing less than an end to impunity from this new government. Pres. Aquino must direct the necessary government resources to ensuring that the perpetrators of these three murders are caught, tried and punished,” said Tinio. #

 

References:

Rep. Antonio L. Tinio (0920-9220817)

Mr. Benny Almanzor, ACT TEACHERS-Masbate coordinator (0919-6334592)

 

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