Teachers’ group rejects Sara Duterte as education secretary

Photo from the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Facebook page.

“Sara Duterte has no recognition of these problems, which also worsened under her father’s rule, and has no track record in addressing these. How then can she resolve these crises?”


MANILA – The imminent appointment of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as secretary of the Department of Education did not sit well with the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT).

In a statement, the group said that the “peace and discipline” vision for education by presumptive Vice President Sara Duterte does not address the current crisis besetting the education sector.

In a statement, ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said that what the education sector needs is “a leadership that recognizes the learning crisis, the desperate quality of education, the chronically underpaid status of teachers, and the degeneration of the country’s sense of history and grasp of truth.”

“Sara Duterte has no recognition of these problems, which also worsened under her father’s rule, and has no track record in addressing these. How then can she resolve these crises?” Basilio added.

On Wednesday, presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced through his spokesperson Victor Rodriguez, that Duterte will be designated as education secretary.

The group laments that what Duterte believes is a history of repressive rule and propagation of disinformation, which can be seen in her emphasis on the need for a “generation of Filipinos that advocate peace and discipline.”

“If her father’s footsteps were any indication, this translates to the ‘bogus’ type of peace espoused by the NTF-ELCAC which attempted to silence dissent through a vicious and baseless smear campaign, and the push for militaristic education to instill ‘discipline’ through ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps),” Basilio said.

ACT Teachers’s Party-list Rep. France Castro also said that the next education secretary should have at least served at the DepEd. She said this is logical as they have an idea of the problems and crises faced by the sector.

“(The next DepEd secretary) should have respect for the education of the Lumad, will respect the teachers’ unions, in favor of increasing the salaries of teachers and staff, stand up for true history and do not advocate fake news and disinformation and above all, not a red-tagger, and [someone who] respects human rights,” Castro said.

Basilio said that Duterte “has proven herself to be a fascist ruler, with zero regard for education and the principles it upholds, just like her father.”

He said that under her rule as Davao mayor, teacher-unionists suffered relentless red-tagging, schools for Lumad children were forcefully shut down, and the brutal and sham drug war prevailed.

“She supported and ran with a known liar, thief, and cheat. She cannot resolve but only exacerbate the grave crisis education is under,” Basilio said.

Meanwhile, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, said that the possible appointment of Duterte to the DepEd will bring a “tsunami of further fake news and disinformation – if not censorship – on the realities in contemporary Philippine history, especially during the (Ferdinand) Marcos Sr. and Duterte regimes.”

“We should do all we can to contend with the further miseducation of young Filipinos,” Palabay said after (Lorraine) Badoy-Partosa and (Alex) Monteagudo red-tagged Adarna House which published children’s literature including those on the Marcos’ martial law regime.

Palabay said Adarna books are produced by renowned and multi-awarded Filipino children’s book writers and illustrators. The publishing house is now offering #NeverAgain bundle or children’s books that tell stories of martial law.

“Their books on martial law are humble contributions to enlighten our youth about the atrocities experienced by thousands during that period. In contrast, these unhinged NTF-ELCAC people are among those who made possible the seeming Marcos comeback and Duterte restoration — because they thrive on fear and dangerous rumor-mongering, historical distortions and lies, and are intolerant of critical thinking and dissent,” Palabay added.

‘Red-tagging overdrive’

Palabay also denounced the recent red-tagging by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. against academic walkouts set tomorrow, Mary 13, to protest electoral fraud in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Esperon said walkouts are dangerous as students will be vulnerable to the recruitment of the New People’s Army.

Palabay called this “red-tagging overdrive.”

“Just days after Marcos Jr. and Duterte-Carpio have both declared their so-called ‘victory’ in the 2022 national polls, it is business as usual for the NTF-ELCAC – the mad cabal of Rodrigo Duterte, Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Badoy-Partosa, Monteagudo and other personalities – who are on overdrive at their vilification and serial red-tagging.”

Anakbayan chairperson Jeann Miranda meanwhile said that their group along with the youth movement “will not be hindered by the rampant red-tagging and fear mongering to suppress the nation’s anger against blatant electoral fraud and violence.”

Youth and students have staged Kampuhan at Liwasang Bonifacio since May 10.

“Fear mongering and red-tagging are clear attempts of the state to put out the fire in the people’s militant spirit after witnessing the fraudulent elections. These are dangerous and desperate efforts to suppress a mass movement that’s to foil the dictatorship of a Marcos-Duterte tandem,” Miranda said.

Palabay meanwhile calls on the public to remain vigilant against all forms of pushback against their rights and freedoms.

“The Marcos-Duterte tandem means a human rights crisis that can potentially be far worse than their fathers’ regimes. Let us hold fast to our aspirations and struggle for democracy and justice,” Palabay said. (RTS, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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