By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — A public school teacher based in Bukidnon survived an assassination attempt, Oct. 15.
Zhaydee Cabañelez, was shot by four masked men in front of her students during the school’s flag ceremony, at around 8:00 a.m. in Dalet Elementary School in Barangay Lumbayao, Valencia City, Bukidnon, according to the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT). Cabañelez is active in their union, calling for just pay and benefits.
Cabañelez, named as 2016 Outstanding Teacher in her barangay, sustained two gunshot wounds in the chest and another two on her feet.
As of this writing, the public school teacher remains in critical condition.
“It is worth noting that this strike comes at a time when teachers have been growing in strength and uniting en masse for a substantial salary increase,” said Joselyn Martinez of ACT in a statement.
Last week, on the eve of the World Teacher’s Day commemoration, a public school teacher in Bicol also received threats.
ACT – Region V president Barlizo Lucenario received an envelope containing photos of his family, a copy of President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, and an instruction to call a mobile number.
Executive Order No. 70 refers to the president’s order to create the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, where a so-called “whole-of-nation approach” will be used to supposedly crush the revolutionary movement in the country.
Such threats came just as ACT Region 5 is set to conclude its Collective Negotiating Agreement for better benefits and working conditions of public school teachers in the Bicol region.
Instead of hearing the calls of public school teachers for a substantial salary increase, better working conditions, and just benefits, the state gifts them with threats and harassment,” said ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro.
Martinez warned that the ranks of teachers will not be cowed “in the face if vicious repressive measures and increasingly fascist attacks.”
She added that they will not let Cabañelez become just another part of the growing list of victims of human rights violations. ACT also urged the Department of Education to “exhaust all measures to get justice for Teacher Zhaydee and her family.”