By Chito Chavez
The militant teacher’s group Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) scored what it called the “escalating harassment on our organization’’ after two of its leaders received phone calls from unknown callers, threatening them with death or burning their houses if they did not cooperate with the government’s profiling of their members.
ACT officials have repeatedly lambasted the police for the supposed profiling and surveillance done on its members insisting on their right to privacy and confidentiality.
After the harassment incident on ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio, Aurora Santiago, regional coordinator of ACT Central Luzon, claimed receiving a similar phone call from an anonymous person who issued threats against her should she “not cooperate’’.
Santiago received the threatening call at around 1:23pm of January 11 from her mobile phone.
She said the person first identified himself to be from the “CID”, but when pressed for more identification, the caller said that he was the “Provincial Commander of the NPA Bulacan.”
Santiago then told the caller that he might be mistaken on who he was calling.
But the caller then identified her name and her being the regional coordinator of ACT, and told her that, “if she will not cooperate, he can have her house burned or have her killed.”
“These terroristic moves to harass and threaten our leaders show the intensifying operations against our organization, which comes shortly after the police profiling of our members,’’ Basilio said.
Instead of harassing teachers, Basilio insisted the Philippine National Police (PNP) should run after lawless people who terrorize “our leaders and punish them according to our laws”.
Basilio claimed he was a victim of the same harassment incident when a certain “Gary’’ knew of his personal details and issued him a death threat.
“We vehemently condemn these acts which are meant to silence us and render our organization immobile. They will be disappointed because we will not stop in organizing teachers’ unions and advancing teachers’ rights and welfare, as these are within our legal legal and constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” Basilio said.
Basilio added that, “if the Duterte government wants criticisms against his administration to stop, he only needs to halt his anti-teacher and anti-people policies.”
He strongly pushed for an immediate and substantial salary increase for teachers and the junking of the TRAIN Law as the two most pressing demands of teachers “are restive because of the grave economic crisis’’.