International solidarity against teacher harassment in the Philippines
An international delegation led by EI General Secretary David Edwards joined in a forum organised on 21 February in Manilla by an EI member organisation (Alliance for Concerned Teachers ACT) to express its solidarity with Filipino teacher unionists, profiled and harassed by the government in contravention of commonly agreed human rights, and fighting for protection of democracy, trade union and human rights. Teachers in the Philippines have rallied under the slogan, #HandsOffOurTeachers, in response to the harassment and profiling to which teachers have been subjected since 2018. The event comes in the context of 34 recorded cases of police profiling and harassing teacher-unionists in 10 regions across the country.
Other EI affiliates in the Philippines, i.e. the Federation of Free Workers-Trade Federation VIII (FFW), the Samahang Manggagawang Pilipino-National Alliance of Teachers and Office Workers (SMP-NATOW) and the Teachers' Organisation of the Philippine Public Sector (TOPPS), stood strongly in support of ACT during the forum. The forum was attended by more than 200 participants, including Representatives of the Commission of Human Rights, lawyers and human rights groups, students and like-minded organisations.
ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio has publicly denounced the continuous harassment of the union’s membership. A petition to the Court of Appeals is pending. It includes examples of severe harassment, such as one public school teacher in Escalante city whose classroom was ransacked. Indeed, Basilio himself has been the subject of harassment, receiving a death threat during an ACT press conference in January.
The ACT produced a statement on the occasion of the solidarity visit of EI to the Philippines. You can read it here.