/ 21 November 2020

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers assailed the decision of the Department of Education to allow the holding of an orientation on youth and student recruitment by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Fund by the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

The orientation will be held on  November 25, 2020 in 16 school divisions to be attended by parents and teachers.

ACT said that the event will be a venue “for another red-tagging spree.”

“Sa patong-patong na problemang kinakaharap ng mga guro at estudyante mula pa nang bago magbukas ang klase, hindi namin mawari kung paano naisip ng ating kagawaran na bigyan ng panahon at rekurso ang ganitong tipo ng aktibidad,” the group said.

“We are sickened, to say the least, to learn of DepEd’s priorities at this time of great crisis. How many millions of our learners and their families are struggling to continue education while dealing with a pandemic, jobs crisis, and calamities? And our teachers who are stretched thin in trying to provide learning opportunities that the state has so far failed to do effectively? One would think that resolving these major issues will occupy DepEd’s time, but we guess not,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said in a statement.

He added that teachers “have seen and documented enough of these kinds of activities, where ACT and other legal progressive organizations were red-tagged without merit.”

The group cited the nationwide police profiling of their members in 2019 and the subsequent harassment and threats they suffered.

“Why then is DepEd providing a platform for these abhorrent acts that have only spread malice and imperiled the welfare and rights of its own employees and learners? This goes against the very mandate of the agency and the values education must espouse,” Basilio said.

The group said that NICA is part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Struggle that recently found itself in hot water after its spokesman, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., and other officials went ‘red-tagged’ several groups and personalities.

“Schools should remain safe civilian zones, not a place for military personnel to spew unfounded accusations, sow hostility and/or fear among learners and education workers, and cause divisiveness among a sector already reeling from crises and disasters. DepEd is hereby implored to disallow any and all military intervention in education and to prohibit further spread of mis- and disinformation among its stakeholders,” Basilio said.