10 December 2016
References: ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio (0920-922-0817) and Rep. France Castro (0920-969-8457)
ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio and Rep. France Castro together with the teachers, Lakbayanis from Visayas, and other sectors join the protests and commemoration of the International Human Rights Day. They attended the Peace Forum held at Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) and the immersion in the Kampuhan of the Lakbayanis in PUP. The contingent had a caravan from PUP to the Philippine Normal University (PNU) then to Liwasang Bonifacio and ended at Mendiola to call for the pressing issues on human rights.
“In solidarity with all the sectors who are advocates of human rights, we call on the Duterte government to respect the basic human rights of the people, including the demand of government employees—the bulk of whom are public school teachers—for decent salaries. We demand for urgent and substantial salary increases,” said Castro. “We urge the President to consider the present dire economic conditions of our teachers whose take-home pay is insufficient to meet the daily needs of their families. They end up taking out loans from Government Service Insurance System, banks, and worse, private lenders who bleed them out with usurious loans.”
“We also demand an end to the militarization of rural and indigenous peoples’ communities, through which elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines use schools, hospitals, religious and cultural sites, and other public places for military purposes,” added Tinio. “Because of these attacks— the encampment of military troops, along with the red tagging, threats, and harassment—our teachers, students, and communities are forced to close their schools and evacuate to places far from their homes and livelihood.”
The solons also demanded for the immediate release of more than 400 political prisoners, including teachers and teacher-organizers Amelia Pond and Dominciano Muya of Davao, Rhea Pareja of Quezon, Rene Boy Abiva, an organizer for the Cagayan Valley chapter of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). “They were arrested and detained as criminals but the only acts they are guilty of are serving the poor and marginalized, and arousing, organizing, and mobilizing them to struggle for their basic human rights,” appealed Castro.
“As teachers, we cannot tolerate the rehabilitation of a dictator, his family, and cronies who have a long bloody record of human rights violations and plunder of our economy. We reiterate to our President: end his alliance with the Marcoses and do justice to the countless victims of Martial Law as well as the country as a whole,” Tinio stressed. ###