/ 20 February 2021

THE ALLIANCE of Concerned Teachers condemned the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict for its “aggressive moves” in red-tagging groups.

It accused the task force of using the Department of Education “in promoting red-tagging, human rights violations, war and state terrorism.”

The group also hit the DepEd for being an accomplice to the NTF-ELCAC’s “nonsensical red-tagging spree.”

ACT said there was a directive from the Department of Education requiring teachers to attend webinars to be held by the task force.

The group got hold of a memorandum issued by Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua dated February 2, 2020, instructing all units to “immediately submit” the names of nine representatives to the ELCAC per DepEd region and division, and directing the concerned personnel to attend the regional meetings of ELCAC task forces.

ACT said it also monitored an NTF-ELCAC webinar for Pasig City public school teachers on Thursday where legal progressive groups were tagged as front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army.

“In the past months, we have seen how the NTF-ELCAC have high-handedly acted against the very objectives of education — spreading erroneous information, spewing baseless lies, indiscriminately red-tagging, inviting harm to people and declaring war against dissent. This malevolence has no place in education that aims to pursue scientific knowledge and to promote justice, peace and human rights,” Raymond Basilio, the group’s secretary general, said.

Basilio condemned the task force for naming ACT as a communist front organization based on a video of Prof. Jose Maria Sison in the 1980s enumerating the “legal democratic forces in the country” as proof to its claim.

“The NTF-ELCAC is essentially threatening the 180,000 teacher-members of ACT with government repression on the sole basis of a video which either they failed to understand or intentionally misinterpreted. Any discerning audience would comprehend that the video tried to explain that legal organizations are separate and distinct from the armed underground movement,” Basilio said.

“Sa bigat ng trabaho ng mga guro at opisyal ngayon, aabalahin pa ba sila sa ganitong mga walang kakwenta-kwentang bagay? Sa dami ng problema ng edukasyon, ito pa ba ang uunahin ng DepEd?” Basilio said.

He urged  DepEd officials to “contemplate if they are still standing for what is right and what education aims to fulfill.”

“Many of our DepEd officials now used to be staunch activists and human rights defenders. Ano na po ang nangyari? Maaatim ba ninyong magpahamak ng guro at maging bahagi kayo ng panunupil? Is this how you want to be judged by history?” Basilio said.