/ 31 July 2020

ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro has strongly condemned the reported harassment by law enforces on two teacher-union leaders who were allegedly being branded by state agents as terrorists after the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law.

Castro said it was unfair for the teacher-leaders to fall victims of the state attacks because they were simply fighting for the rights and welfare of their fellow educators

The militant teachers’ organization reported that posters with the name and photo of public high school teacher and ACT Davao region union secretary Pilar Barredo have been spotted in the city with markings that she’s a ‘wanted terrorist recruiter’.

Castro also said that based on the information that the group has received, military personnel have been harassing ACT Region IV-B union secretary and public elementary school teacher Maria Cristy Borbe via phone calls, Facebook messages and unwelcome house visits.

Military personnel have reportedly been asking Borbe to just confess to and cooperate with the authorities to have her name cleared, insinuating that ACT is a terrorist group as defined in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 and that she’s a sympathizer of the organization.

Barredo is a TLE teacher from Calinan National High School in Davao City, while Borbe is a public elementary school teacher in Region IV-B.

“With the enactment of President Duterte’s Anti-Terrorism law, state forces are not wasting time in harassing, attacking, and terrorist-tagging leaders of public school teachers in different regions who have dedicated their lives in protecting the rights and welfare of their fellow teachers,” Castro stressed.

The lawmaker lamented that in using the Anti-Terrorism law, the Duterte administration is treating the legitimate demands for higher salaries, better school facilities and adequate social services as acts of terrorism.

“Our legitimate demands for a comprehensive and systematic medical solution to address the Covid19 pandemic and for a safe and quality reopening of schools are not acts of terrorism. We are simply exercising our constitutionally guaranteed rights. We are not terrorists and we demand that the Duterte administration stay away from our teachers,” said Castro.