“As teachers, it is our duty to stop this appalling disrespect of history.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Educators under the Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines (ACT) vow to fight historical revisionism amid efforts of President Duterte to rehabilitate the Marcoses and his emerging dictatorship.
As teachers, they said, they could not sit and let the dark times of martial law reign again under the Duterte administration. On the 46th commemoration of martial law on Sept. 21, educators under the flag of ACT will join the rest of the people in Luneta with a call, “Never again to martial law.”
“Teachers are not exempted from what is happening in our country especially when there is a looming dictatorship,” said Benjamin Valbuena, chairperson of ACT said in a press conference on Sept. 14 in time for their 15th Congress at Don Alejandro Roces Sr. Science-Technology High School, Quezon City.
Prof. Carl Marc Ramota of University of the Philippines-Manila and ACT-SUC said while teachers teach their students about the history of the country, respect, among others, on Sept. 21, teachers will teach the Duterte regime that the past should never be forgotten and that the Marcoses should be held accountable for all its crimes.
Ramota deplored the recent incident in UP-Diliman where policemen went inside the campus looking for UP Student Regent Ivy Joy Taroma on Sept. 12 without disclosing the reason for their search. Also on Sept. 8, he said, three uniformed and armed police also went inside the campus and raided Palma Hall also in UP-Diliman. On Sept. 1, this time in UP-Manila, 24 policemen went inside the campus also without coordination with the campus administration.
Ramota said this is in violation of the 1989 UP-Department of National Defense Accord where uniformed personnel are prohibited inside the campuses.
“If they could do this here, how much more to schools in far flung areas such as the Lumad schools that are constantly being militarized,” he said.
They demand that UP campuses be declared as safe havens not only of students, teachers and non-teaching employees but for people whose life are being threatened and are being politically persecuted. “Especially under the Duterte administration where thousands were killed under the government’s anti-drug war and Oplan Tambay,” he added.
Meanwhile Regional Coordinator of ACT-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) Jeannette Cawiding is in the proscription list of the Department of Justice. She and other seven colleagues from CAR is in the “terror list” of the DOJ.
This is dangerous she said. “Pwede kaming ma-tokhang,” she said. (We could suffer the same fate as victims of Oplan Tokhang.)
She said there was also a confidential memorandum from the Philippine National Police and Philippine Army that they obtained recently. It orders the police and military to gather data about them.
“We are being under surveillance and are being profiled for various reasons,” she said.
She said this is a message from the government to stop her advocacies.
“Activism is not a criminal act. We do this as good citizens, teachers and Christians because we’re making creating a society where genuine peace and justice prevails,” she said.
Mike Pante of Ugnayan ng mga Guro sa Ateneo and ACT Private meanwhile said Duterte has been idolizing the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. so much, that everything he did during martial law was similar like today. From the harassments of Lumad in Mindanao, uniformed personnel going inside the campuses and Marcos’ script before declaring martial law – the purported connivance of the Communist Part of the Philippines and Liberal Party to depose him exactly replicates the dark times of martial law.
He also criticized the reunion of Kabataang Barangay in UP-Diliman. He described it as a slap on the face of martyrs and activists who came from the university during martial law.
“As teachers, it is our duty to stop this appalling disrespect of history,” he said.
He reiterated their opposition to the rehabilitation of the Marcoses because Marcos is not a hero and so is Duterte.
“Let us all come out on the streets on the 21st along with our students and colleagues and be a part of the United People’s Action. Let us show Duterte that we are united to oppose Duterte’s rehabilitation of the Marcoses” he added.