By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The secretary general of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) received a death threat during a press conference on the profiling of teachers being conducted by the Philippine National Police (PNP) this afternoon, January 11 at Teachers Camp here.
In the course of the press conference, ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio, excused himself to pick up a call from 09672275384.
A caller, who identified himself as “Gary,” warned Basilio that a contract killer had been hired to shoot him in Quezon City. “He also told me not to cut the call, that if I put the telephone down, he will not be able to help me,” he said.
Basilio said that when he started to probe who Gary was he replied: You do not get to ask about me, let me tell you what I know about you.
“I have been receiving threats through text messages but, this is different, the one who called, knew my address, economic background and the fact that I am the fourth among us siblings,” said Basilio.
Basilio used to teach in Bukidnon until he decided to become a full time staff member of ACT.
Basillio said that since then he has been going around the country to help teachers put up their ACT unions to organize a stronger voice at asserting their rights as for higher pay and better working conditions.
Basilio said this is really alarming but he said that he is not doing anything wrong.
Writ of Amparo
Basilio announced during the press conference that ACT will seek a Writ of Amparo from the courts to protect teachers from the profiling of the PNP.
The Supreme Court describes the writ as “a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty and security is violated or threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity.”
Basilio said they will also file complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman against police officers, who have actively solicited information about teachers affiliated directly or indirectly with the activist group. He said the complaints may include officials of the Department of Education, who released confidential information about their teachers without their consent.
ACT officials are here for a three-day (January 11 to 13) national leadership training session.
Basilio said the police should reveal to the public the documents which allegedly justified the investigation of ACT members. “If they will not do it voluntarily, we will get these through the courts,” he said.
Allusions to a communist link have put teachers in danger, ACT officials said.
Basilio said the surveillance intensified after they staged a sit down strike in November last year to dramatize their call for wages that would match the increased salaries given to the police and the military.
He said instead of spying on teachers, the government should fulfill its promise “to increase the salaries and benefits and improve the working condition of teachers,” beginning with a P16,000 pay for salary grade 1 employees, P30,000 for teacher 1 and 31,000 for instructor 1.
Jocelyn Martinez, ACT chairperson, said they have been monitoring reports of teacher surveillances as early as December 2018 in the cities of Navotas and Pasig.
ACT said 18 schools have reported being asked to release the identities of teachers associated with the group, most of them in the National Capital Region.
ACT is a legitimate organization and is recognized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as a union, Martinez said. ACT is currently negotiating with the DepEd for the salary increase of teachers, she said. # nordis.net