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Social ills, not teachers, to blame for student activism - ACT

Press Release
August 16, 2019

QUEZON CITY – The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) slammed Senator Bato dela Rosa and police chief Oscar Albayalde for “blaming teachers” for the “anti-government” sentiments of students and the youth, citing that “it is not the teachers’ fault that poverty, corruption and human rights violations intensifies under the current administration.”

News reports quoted Dela Rosa and Albayalde chiding teachers to ‘just do their jobs and not make students turn against the government.”

Dela Rosa in a senate hearing went as far as ask for the termination of employment of teachers who encourage students to join rallies. “The two officials are not in the position to lecture us on our jobs. Their stances show that they have very little appreciation of the objectives of education,” said Joselyn Martinez, ACT National Chairperson.

Martinez explained that the constitution mandates schools to “teach patriotism, love of humanity, human rights, role of national heroes and history, rights and duties of citizens, ethical and spiritual values, moral character and personal discipline, critical and creative thinking, scientific and technological knowledge and vocational efficiency.”

“It is not the teachers’ fault if the government leadership acts in contrast to the values upheld by education. They should not blame us if the youth calls out the government for the ills that they see in the society. We are only doing our job,” expressed Martinez.

Martinez hit dela Rosa and Albayalde for “demonizing activism and rallies which are basic constitutional rights of the people, including students and teachers.”

“In the guise of attempting to curb armed rebellion, dela Rosa and Albayalde are in effect discrediting the fundamental rights of the people to free expression, self-organization and to protest. It is them who are not doing their jobs as being government officials, their constitutional duty is to respect and uphold such rights,” said Joselyn Martinez, ACT Chairperson.

Martinez said that the government should not “find fault in teachers encouraging students to attend rallies” as rallies are “real-life events that hold many learnings for the students.”

“It exposes our students to people from different walks of life who have grievances that are worth hearing. It helps broaden the youth’s view of our society and offers education that cannot be learnt inside the classroom and from textbooks,” said Martinez.

Martinez concluded by saying that “Rallying is not a crime. It appears that dela Rosa’s and Albayalde’s rants all boil down to this administration’s intolerance of dissent. They should stop in their desperate bid to silence critics. We’re in a democracy after all.”