/ 16 November 2022

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers denounced the surveillance, harassment and red-tagging allegedly perpetrated by various state agencies against Florante Lachica, school head of the Cambaly National High School in La Union.

Lachica, the group’s secretary in Region I, reported his harassment by police officers from Bagulin and Sto. Tomas Police Stations. Such harassment included getting his phone number from colleagues, calling him to get his personal information, visiting his school to inquire on his whereabouts and warning the teachers in his school against him for being a “high-ranking official of ACT, which is a front organization and funds the New People’s Army.”

He was also red-tagged in a school forum sponsored by the National Commission on Indigenous People’s, and banners painted with “Mag-ingat, FLORANTE LACHICA ACT-TEACHERS PARTYLIST NPA RECRUITER!” were hung along roads in Bagulin and Sto. Tomas, La Union.

“We denounce in the strongest terms the brazen attacks against Mr. Lachica that pose grave threats to his life, safety and liberty, especially that he is stationed in a remote area where access to help is difficult,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

“To be assigned in a public school in a mountainous area is great sacrifice enough for our school heads and teachers with the many hardships that it entails. Making it more difficult by state security forces through threats and intimidation is seriously deplorable!” he added.

ACT urged the Department of Education to investigate Lachica’s case and protect employees who are being red-tagged.

“Mr. Lachica is a legitimate personnel of the Department of Education who accepted the challenge to serve our youth in remote areas where education is most inaccessible. As ACT Region I Secretary, he persistently champions the rights of public school teachers to decent salaries, just benefits and humane working conditions. There is nothing illegal in what he does, in fact, his sacrifices are noble. All that the police and the NCIP spew are lies and baseless accusations which Mr. Lachica clearly does not deserve,” Basilio said.