Four Walls and Beyond: A Genuine Teacher’s Union is Militant, Progressive and Patriotic

By FLORANTE LACHICA*
www.nordis.net

The emergence of DepEd Teachers Union-National Capital Region is nothing more than a state’s maneuver amid its policy to demolish legitimate people’s organizations, but something that our teachers shall be more vigilant with, and be firm in their stance against deceptions that imply their basic demands for living wage will come effortlessly courtesy of the misogynist despot.

In their Facebook account, the DTU-NCR which is parading Pres. Duterte’s gratifying but sham statements promising that teachers will be next to receive salary increases after he doubled the salaries of uniformed personnel, claims that the group is an alternative to the long existing Alliance of Concerned Teachers NCR Union which it assails as “public nuisance, militant and aggressive union, keeps protesting in the streets, etc.” It pretends to support the teacher’s call for salary increase but floating the lines “let’s do it one at a time, or slow but sure,” insinuating that teachers shall have to wait ‘til kingdom come, and such posture denies the serious conditions and sufferings of our teachers who are badly in need of immediate economic relief. While it is discrediting ACT-NCR Union’s efforts in addressing teachers’ and peoples’ issues and concerns, it never lifts a finger on clamors of stressful and gigantic paper works, heavy workloads, lack of school facilities and teaching tools, and other perennial problems which long burden the teachers.

Joy Martinez, ACT-NCR Union President, alleges that the DTU-NCR is a creation of no less than the DepEd officials themselves. This is, according to her, to divide the teachers’ rank and eventually get rid of the ACT-NCR Union which never compromises its commitment to serve the teaching force. “They cannot put our union under their control, so they created a union which they can manipulate and they can work with their whims,” said Martinez who vowed more to advance the teachers’ struggle for democratic rights and welfare.

The lack of militancy, conspiring with the DepEd leadership, reliance on a “Poncius Pilate” for substantial changes in the education sector, and rejecting the need to help out on other sectors’ issues have drawn the DTU-NCR among the unprincipled yellow unions which are widespread in the private sector. These management-created labor unions, usually led by the company’s kin or “trusted” employees, are not genuine and do not carry the workers’ interests. Their leadership are turncoats and shall easily compromise when offered with individual favor, promotions and perks. The DTU-NCR is no different, and definitely will follow these turncoats in the dustbin of history.

A genuine employees’ union should be militant, progressive and patriotic. These qualities will make all ACT-led teachers’ union, including the ACT Region 1 Union, distinct and precise in our struggle. A review in history of our teachers’ movement shall point to these qualities as appropriate in guaranteeing genuine reforms within the education system.

Our teachers’ union is militant. It relies and depends on the unity and collective action of the union members as a whole rather than relying on the “influence peddling” of a few political leaders to achieve its objectives and demands. DTU-NCR’s collaboration with DepEd officials will never bring significant results. These education officials who champion neo-liberal ideas will never get away with neo-liberal dictates that mostly translate to education programs and policies that run counter to our teachers’ interests. With such powerful adversary that we are facing, it is but proper to employ various means of struggle and if necessary bring it to the streets to achieve a much better and substantial outcome.

A progressive union is one that stands for the interest of the majority of the teachers and the welfare of the people. We are always moving forward to something better. We shall be relentless in our struggle for the democratic rights and welfare of our teachers and the people. We will never cease in advancing our advocacies for scientific, nationalist and mass-oriented education. Yes, there are obstacles and countless of challenges along the way, but with our collective action coupled with our principles and determination, we will be able to reach our goals for social transformation.

Being patriotic does not only entail love of country or saluting the flag, yet surrendering our sovereignty. Our union is patriotic because it recognizes that teachers are citizens and their problems as professionals cannot be separated from the problems of the majority of our people and of our nation. The teachers are affected with the issues and concerns of jeepney drivers because they, too, are commuters. They are very much affected with the inflation and oil price hike because they, too, are consumers. Most of their students are children of farmers, factory workers and government employees. The problems that continuously confronting the teachers and plaguing the education sector are brought about by the failure of our systems which all sectors of our society shall deal with.

There is no question that the Alliance of Concerned Teachers is indeed working hard for political and economic well-being of the teachers. It was instrumental in the enactment of the “now downgraded” Magna Carta of Public School Teachers, increased uniform and cash allowances and more benefits, formation of teachers’ unions and Collective Negotiation Agreements that empower more the teachers, resolutions of GSIS issues, individual teachers’ complaints and other concerns. But to ACT and its allied teachers’ unions, these successes are just trivial. The teachers shall continue without repose the battle to totally cut off the shackle that is depriving them of dignity and decent life.

The effort of the Deped to divide our ranks ultimately putting us under their clout, and be submissive to their “anti-teacher and anti-people” education policies will not succeed with our unity and untiring struggle. And our being militant, progressive and patriotic will never fail us.# nordis.net

* Florante Lachica is a public school teacher and the Secretary General of ACT Region I Union.

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