July 15, 2010
ACT Teachers Party-list Representative Antonio Tinio today condemned the spate of killings that have victimized teachers in the last few days. “We are truly alarmed that three teachers have been murdered in the span of a few days. How can our public school teachers serve the public if their basic security cannot be guaranteed by the state?”
He further noted the brazenness of all three murders, perpetrated in broad daylight. “One of the teachers was killed right in her own school, in front of her students. Then the killer simply walked away.” He pointed out that in all three cases, the killers remain unidentified and at large.
Tinio linked the killings to the failure of the previous administration to prosecute and punish human rights violators. “Clearly, these killings are enabled by the climate of impunity that continues to prevail, a legacy of the widespread extrajudicial killings of activists and journalists that went unpunished under the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We demand justice for our fellow-teachers and challenge the Aquino government to take decisive action to stop the killings and end impunity.”
Tinio said that he would travel to Masbate on Saturday to pay his respects to slain teacher and Alliance of Concerned Teachers member Mark Francisco as well as to follow-up with local authorities on the status of the investigation into his murder and attend to the concerns of teachers in the area.
Only one ACT member killed, not three
The ACT Teachers Representative also issued a clarification regarding the number of members of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers killed in the past few days.
“We wish to clarify that only one of the teachers killed in the last few days is a member of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers,” said Tinio. “Media reports claiming that the three teachers killed are ACT members are inaccurate.” Tinio is also the Representative of ACT Teachers Partylist.
Tinio explained that, among the victims, only Mark Francisco is a member of ACT and its party-list group ACT Teachers. Francisco, who taught at San Isidro Elementary School in Palanas, Masbate, was gunned down last July 9. His killers remain unidentified. Two other teachers killed in recent days are not ACT members. These are Edgar Fernandez, who taught at Roco C. Pahis, Sr. Central School in Masbate City, was shot dead by unidentified men also on July 9; and Josephine Estacio, who was shot on July 12 by a lone gunman during the flag-raising ceremony of Tenejero Elementary School in Balanga, Bataan, where she taught.
“We are making this clarification in the interest of accuracy and to correct any misapprehension that the erroneous reports may have created. For the record, we issued an official statement only in the case of Francisco and have never claimed that the two other teachers were ACT members,” said Tinio. “Nevertheless, in no way does this diminish the gravity of the injustice perpetrated against the three murdered teachers.” #